|Well over a thousand galaxies are known members of
the closest large cluster of galaxies to our own
In fact, the galaxy cluster is difficult
appreciate all at once because
it covers such a large area on the sky.
Spanning about 5x3 degrees, this careful
mosaic of telescopic images
clearly records the central
region of the Virgo Cluster through faint
clouds lingering above the plane of our own Milky Way galaxy.
The cluster's dominant giant elliptical
galaxy M87, is just below center in the frame.
Above M87 is the famous interacting galaxy pair NGC 4438,
also known as The Eyes.
A closer examination of the image will
reveal many Virgo cluster member galaxies as small fuzzy patches.
Sliding your cursor over the image will label the larger galaxies
using NGC catalog designations.
Galaxies are also shown with
catalog numbers, including
and prominent colorful spirals
M90, and M91.
On average, Virgo Cluster galaxies are measured to be
about 48 million light-years away.
Cluster distance has been used to give an important
determination of the Hubble Constant and
the scale of the Universe.
(Editor's Note: Labels courtesy of