Messier 84 is one of the brighter member galaxies of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies, located near the middle of that congregation. A number of other members are nearby; notably M86, which is a bit right of center and below the bottom boundary of my image and just off the upper right corner of the photo is the edge-on spiral NGC 4388. Despite its appearing quite small in this image M84 is a physically very large object. It is uncertain at this time whether it should be classified as a lenticular or an elliptical because we are not certain of its orientation in the sky. The elongated bright object to the right and slightly above M84 is 12th magnitude elliptical galaxy NGC 4387. M84 has long been classified as an elliptical galaxy, due to its appearance and the fact that is contains only old yellow stars but recent evidence indicates that it may actually be a face-on lenticular. M84 contains a massive central object, almost certainly a black hole, of about 300 million solar masses. This central machine also ejects two small but conspicuous jets, which are most visible in radio wavelenghts. A supernova was seen in M84 on May 18,1957 at mag 13 and two other supernovae appeared in 1980 and 1991, both reaching magnitude 14.

Image taken Feb 26, 2012, with the C-14 operating at F:3.5 and the ST-8 binned 2 X 2. Exposure is 7 1/2 minutes.