3C 274


Basic Data
S178 Alpha FR Class ID Spectrum Best z mag. LAS lg P178 D
1144.50.79IRD/SSC Gal0.0040R(c) = 8.08 836.0024.45 64.4


Size: 2560.0 × 2560.0 arcsec²
LUT: Logarithmic
Beam: 45 arcsec
Frequency: 1465 MHz
Method: CLEAN ՘>45
Telescope: VLA D
Credits: R. A. Perley (unpublished)

3C 274 is the famous radio source Virgo A, identified with M 87, the giant elliptical galaxy at the centre of the Virgo cluster.

Virgo A is best known for its synchrotron-emitting jet. This was first noticed in an optical image by H. D. Curtis in 1918; in retrospect it was one of the first pieces of evidence for active galactic nuclei, although its significance was only gradually appreciated over the following sixty years. The jet has been observed from radio to X-ray wavelengths and imaged at high resolution with the HST and the VLA. An HST image can be accessed via the Messier Database link given above.

The jet is too small to show up in our image of the large-scale structure of Virgo A. The DRAGN consists of a central Steep-Spectrum Core (SSC, in this case sometimes called the "core object" or "inner lobes") seen here in red, surrounded by a much fainter but larger halo, through which a sinuous ridge can be traced. Our classification of Virgo A as a relaxed double is based on the structure of the halo. The jet is embedded in the SSC, which has been imaged in detail by Biretta & Meisenheimer (1993). Check out Owen et al's exquisite images showing both the large-scale structure in far more detail than the image shown here, and the small-scale structure on a range of scales.

The optical and X-ray structure of the Virgo cluster are nicely shown on Richard White's Virgo Cluster page. Although in optical images M 87 is only one of several comparably bright galaxies in the cluster, it dominates the X-ray image, showing that it lies at the centre of mass of the cluster. The X-ray brightness peak is distorted on the scale of the radio halo, probably because of an interaction between radio- and X-ray emitting plasma.

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Page created: 2009 Apr 2 14:16:43
J. P. Leahy