A Virgo Cluster is a large group made up of several galaxies. At an approximate distance of 5 x 107 light years, it is the closest cluster. It includes about 2,000 galaxies and most of them are dwarf galaxies. It is also known as the Virgo-Coma Cluster. It is located in the center of the larger Virgo Super cluster.
It is so large that it has a considerable gravitational effect on the nearby galaxies. The diameter of this cluster is estimated to be around 15 million light years. The galaxies in this cluster are mostly located in the constellation of Virgo.
Quick Facts: –
- The Virgo Cluster was discovered by Charles Messier for the first time in 1781.
- Messier described it as a cluster of nebulae that can be seen only when the sky is clear.
- The brightest member of this cluster is the elliptical galaxy Messier 49.
- It has been estimated that its total mass is somewhere around 1.2 quadrillion times the mass of the Sun.
- All the galaxies are scattered in various subclusters. The largest concentration is Virgo A.
- More than half of the galaxies are spirals but the four brightest ones are elliptical in shape.
- Most of the elliptical galaxies are found in the center and the spiral ones are found in the periphery.
- It is believed by astronomers that this cluster is not in a state of dynamical equilibrium.