A Sense of Scale Page 9

Virgo Super cluster, 100 million light years


Galaxies tend to cluster into groups. The largest nearby cluster is the Virgo cluster, a concentration of several hundred galaxies.

Other clusters in this region are the Fornax and the Eridanus clusters. These clusters are gravitationally bound together, and with many local groups within this region, they form what is called a Super Cluster.

This one is known as the Virgo Super cluster. Our galaxy with its Local Group is quite insignificant in the centre.

This region has a radius of about 100 million light years. It contains about 2,500 large galaxies and countless dwarf galaxies.

Image: Atlas of the Universe


This region has a radius in our scale model of 947 million km, which is more than the radius of Jupiter's orbit around the Sun.



The central portion of the Virgo Super Cluster in an optical image taken by the Observatory on Mount Palomar in California. The galaxy in the centre is M87 (also known as the radio galaxy Virgo A).

Digitized Sky Survey, Palomar Observatory, STScI;
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica