Proceedings of a workshop held at Ringberg Castle, Tegernsee, Germany, 15-19 September 1997 / Hermann-Josef Röser, Klaus Meisenheimer, eds. Berlin ; New York : Springer, 1999.

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THE VIRGO CLUSTER - HOME OF M87

Bruno Binggeli


Astronomical Institute of the University of Basel, Venusstrasse 7, CH-4102 Binningen, Switzerland


ABSTRACT. Our current understanding of the structure and dynamics of the Virgo cluster is reviewed. Special emphasis is given to a possible connection between the activity of M87 and the cluster as a whole. The Virgo cluster is an aggregate of at least three separate subclusters, centered on M87, M86, and M49. The dominant M87 subclump, with a mass of a few 1014 Msun, is outweighing the other two subclumps by an order of magnitude. There is evidence, from the kinematics of dwarf galaxies and the structure of the X-ray gas, that the M86 subclump is falling into the M87 subclump from the back with a relative velocity of approx 1500 km s-1. M87 and M86 seem to be embedded in a common, cocoon-like swarm of dwarf ellipticals. The orientation of this cocoon, or simply the line connecting M87 and M86, is coinciding with the (projected) direction of the jet of M87. A possible explanation for this apparent coherence between structures on the pc scale of the center of M87 and the Mpc scale of the Virgo cluster is discussed.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

GLOBAL STRUCTURE

GALAXY CONTENTS AND KINEMATICS

CLUSTER DEPTH AND ENVIRONMENT

THE M87 SUBCLUMP

THE M87 / M86 SUBCLUMP INTERACTION ...AND THE JET

CONCLUDING REMARKS

REFERENCES

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