British Astronomical Association
Supporting amateur astronomers since 1890

BAA Images Robin Leadbeater

Observation by Robin Leadbeater: Spectrum of M87 Nucleus

Uploaded by

Robin Leadbeater


Robin Leadbeater


2019 Apr 11 - 21:32


2019 Apr 13 - 14:26



  • Celestron C11 telescope
  • ALPY 600 spectrograph
  • ATIK 428 camera

100 min


Wigton Cumbria

Target name



Spectrum of M87 Nucleus

About this image

Since M87 has been in the news recently with the radio image of the region immediately surrounding the black hole,

I thought I would take a spectrum of this region using the ALPY600.  I obviously could not get anywhere near as close in as  the radio image but the spectrum of the nucleus (red) shows clear emission lines of H alpha, [N II], [S II]  from the material in the region surrounding the black hole, redshifted by  ~1300km/s . Note the absence of these emission lines in the spectrum covering a region further out (blue). I have also included a spectrum of this region from the literature taken by the 3.6m TNG telescope in 2008 (orange) which covers the central 2x2 arc sec region from this reference

Also for comparison is a K3v stellar reference spectrum,shifted to match the M87 redshift. Note the similarity with the combined starlight from this mature elliptical galaxy.

Files associated with this observation
Like this image
Copyright of all images and other observations submitted to the BAA remains with the owner of the work. Reproduction of work by third parties is expressly forbidden without the consent of the copyright holder. By submitting images to this online gallery, you grant the BAA permission to reproduce them in any of our publications.