The Inner Jet of the Radio Galaxy M87


The Inner Jet of the Radio Galaxy M87 located in the Virgo cluster at a distance of only 16 Megaparsec (52 million light years). The angular resolution of this false-color radio image made by the NRAO Very Long Baseline Array at 2 cm is fifty times better than the one of the Hubble Space Telescope. The linear resolution is about three light months. The image shows a limb brightened jet and a faint counter-jet. The central gap is consistent with the presence of a fast inner jet which is beamed away from the observer surrounded by a slower moving outer plasma seen by the VLBA.
This 2 cm logarithmic false-color image was obtained from a full track in hour angle using the VLBA along with one VLA antenna on 2000 May 8 at 256 Mbps. The FWHM of the beam is of 0.6 by 1.3 mas at P.A.=-11 degrees (natural weighting). The peak intensity is 1.00 Jy/beam and the off-source rms noise 64 micro-Jy/beam. The corresponding dynamic range is better than 15,000 to 1.


Legacy Astronomical Images


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Legacy Astronomical Image

Object Name


Photo Credit

Y. Y. Kovalev, MPIfR and ASC Lebedev


Y. Y. Kovalev (MPIfR & ASC Lebedev), M. L. Lister (Purdue U.), D. C. Homan (Denison U.), K. I. Kellermann (NRAO)


Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)

Observation Date


Type of Observation


Center of Image

RA 12:30:49.400, Dec: 12:23:28.000 (J2000)

Field of View

0.000030 x 0.000023 degrees

Link to journal article


Contact the archivist for a high resolution tif of this image.


Active Galactic Nuclei Series


Radio Galaxies Unit


Legacy Astronomical Images, “The Inner Jet of the Radio Galaxy M87,” NRAO Archives, accessed December 3, 2021,