Messier 89

This elliptical galaxy holds approximately 100 billion stars and well over 2,000 globular clusters.


50 million light-years

Apparent Magnitude




object type

Elliptical Galaxy

Hubble image of M89
M89 contains approximately 100 billion stars and well over 2,000 globular clusters.
NASA, ESA, STScI, and M. Franx (Universiteit Leiden) and S. Faber (University of California, Santa Cruz)

M89 is one of eight galaxies in the Virgo cluster that Charles Messier discovered in 1781. An elliptical galaxy, M89 is almost exactly circular. It is located about 50 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo.

M89 contains approximately 100 billion stars and well over 2,000 globular clusters. It was the first galaxy discovered to have an extended envelope, which means that it has a larger region of light surrounding it than other elliptical galaxies, most likely because of its high number of stars and globular clusters. At the center of M89 is a supermassive black hole estimated to have one billion times the mass of our Sun.

This image combines Hubble observations of M89 taken in near-infrared and visible light using the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. It features most of the galaxy, with M89’s bright central nucleus at the top right of the image and many of its globular clusters appearing as star-like points of light throughout the field. The image also captures a separate edge-on spiral galaxy below M89’s core. These Hubble observations were taken to help determine the structure and formation of elliptical galaxies, as well as searching for evidence of black holes in the hearts of these galaxies.

Telescopes that are 8 inches or larger can see the 9.8-magnitude galaxy as a faint ball of light. The best time to view M89 is in May.

For more information about Hubble’s observations of M89, see:

star chart showing location in night sky of M89
This star chart for M89 represents the view from mid-northern latitudes for the given month and time.
Image courtesy of Stellarium

Explore Hubble's Messier Catalog

The following pages contain some of Hubble’s best images of Messier objects.

Bright green, orange, and yellow tendrils intertwined within this egg shaped nebula.

Messier 1 (The Crab Nebula)

Better known as the Crab Nebula, Charles Messier originally mistook Messier 1 for Halley’s Comet, which inspired him to create…

A Hubble image of a ball of thousands of stars

Messier 2

Hubble's image of Messier 2 is comprised of visible and infrared wavelengths of light.

Hubble view of M3 - a ball of thousands of stars.

Messier 3

Messier 3 holds more than 500,000 stars.