Elliptical Galaxies

[M Elliptical] Click icon to view an elliptical galaxy of Messier's catalog

>> Messier's elliptical galaxies; Links

The icon shows M87, also called Virgo A, the supergiant elliptical in the heart of the Virgo Cluster.

Elliptical galaxies are ellipsoidal agglomerations of stars, which usually do not contain much interstellar matter, and look smoothly like small wads in the telescope. Sizes vary from considerably small systems (as M32 which is quite bright though) to really giant guys as M87.

Some disk galaxies without much structure, i.e. lenticulars, can hardly be distinguished from (and thus are sometimes misclassified as) elliptical galaxies; this has happened in the past to all four Messier lenticulars, among many others.

Elliptical galaxies of Messier's catalog: M32, M49, M59, M60, M87, M89, M105, M110

(Probable) S0 galaxies in Messier's catalog: M84, M85, M86, NGC 5866 (M102 ?)





Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg

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Last Modification: January 25, 1998