This image is a composite of visible (or optical), radio, and X-ray data of the giant elliptical galaxy, M87. M87 lies at a distance of 54 million light-years and is the largest galaxy in the Virgo cluster of galaxies. Bright jets moving at close to the speed of light are seen at all wavelengths coming from the massive black hole at the center of the galaxy. It has also been identified with the strong radio source, Virgo A, and is a powerful source of X-rays as it resides near the center of a hot, X-ray-emitting cloud that extends over much of the Virgo cluster. The extended radio emission consists of plumes of relativistic (extremely hot) gas from the jets rising into the X-ray-emitting cluster medium.
The optical data of M87 were obtained with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys in visible and infrared filters (data courtesy of P. Cote (Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics) and E. Baltz (Stanford University)). Wide-field optical data of the center of the Virgo Cluster were also provided by R. Gendler (Copyright Robert Gendler 2006). The X-ray data were acquired from the Chandra X-ray Observatory's CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS), and were provided by W. Forman (Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) et al. The radio data were obtained by W. Cotton using the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array (NRAO/VLA) near Socorro, New Mexico. NRAO archive VLA data of M87 were also used in the composite radio image.