Messier Monday: A Perfectly Calm Spiral in a Gravitational Storm, M88

We’ll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one’s been.” -Tool

A beautifully undisturbed, large spiral can be found right at the heart of the Virgo Cluster. Sure, looking at the heart of the Virgo Cluster on its own, you might totally overlook today’s Messier object.

Image credit: Rogelio Bernal Andreo of Deep Sky Colors.
Image credit: Rogelio Bernal Andreo of Deep Sky Colors.

But you sure would be missing out if you did! Larger than the Milky Way, with a supermassive black hole more than 20 times the size of our own, a super hot, ionized central region, and speeding through the intergalactic medium at 1,000 km/s — stripping its neutral hydrogen away — this “quiet” galaxy has so much to reveal if we ask it the right questions!

Image credit: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona, via http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap100130.html.
Image credit: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona, via http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap100130.html.

Go ahead and witness (and learn all about) this remarkable object, only at Messier Mondays!