|Rektascenzija||12 : 26.2 (u:m)
|Deklinacija||+12 : 57 (sto:m)
|Razdalja||60000 (*1000 sv.l.)
|Vizual. magnituda||8.9 (mag)
|Zorni kot||7.5x5.5 (loc min)
This bright giant galaxy is either an elliptical of type E3 or a lenticular galaxy of type S0_1(3); modern classifications apparently tend more to the lenticular classification. It has a conspicuous system of faint globular clusters, suggestions of which can be just seen in the DSSM image of this galaxy. However, this system of globulars is far less populated than that of its giant neighbor to the SE, M87. To the lower left is a very small and faint dwarf elliptical companion. Several condensations may be found around this galaxy in our image, especially to the lower part, and the DSSM photo (here to the upper edge), they may be globular clusters belonging to this galaxy.
M86 lies well in the heart of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies and forms a most conspicuous group with another giant, M84. Below M86 in our image is NGC 4402, a dim (11.5 mag) edge-on spiral. This group may be viewed in one field even at medium power, so that it is often photographed and we have more images including M84 and M86. Deep images of this group have revealed that these galaxies are actually much larger than indicated in conventional images, as the one in this page. In addition, we have images of the whole central part of the Virgo Cluster: M87 together with Markarian's chain around M84 and M86.
M86 is the galaxy which has the fastest approaching velocity, and thus the highest blue shift, of all Messier galaxies (and thus all Messier objects): It is approaching us at 419 km/sec ! Holmberg has therefore speculated that it should be a close foreground galaxy and not a Virgo cluster member. However, the present author thinks it is just this high approach velocity which indicates that M86 is most probably a true cluster member, because of the following reason: In this case, the high velocity value would indicate that M86 is moving at a peculiar velocity of more than 1500 km/sec, which points by chance in a direction toward us. But this is not totally uncommon in huge clusters of galaxies as the Virgo cluster, because due to its enormous mass, this huge agglomeration of mass has a strong gravitational field. This strong gravitational field could easily accelerate a galaxy to the high velocity observed for M86; it would be much more difficult to find an explanation for such a high velocity for a field galaxy !
The Virgo cluster membership of M86 is also suggested by an apparent interaction with the intergalactic gaseous matter in the Virgo cluster, which was reported from radio observations. Moreover, M86 does not hold the record: Another Virgo cluster member, IC 3258, approaches us at 517 km/sec. Our Galaxies in the Virgo Cluster page lists more fastly approaching (and receding) Virgo Cluster members.