The Local Group dwarf elliptical galaxy M 32

Messier 32 (NGC 221)

Three-color JHKs composite Atlas Image mosaic, covering 8 8 on the sky, of the dwarf elliptical galaxy Messier 32 (M32). M32 is a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31 (NGC 224) ) and therefore is also a member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way. The proximity of this small early-type galaxy to us has allowed astronomers to probe its nuclear regions, where there is now a preponderance of evidence for the presence of a supermassive black hole (with a mass of a few million solar masses; e.g., Joseph et al. 2001, ApJ, 550, 668), demonstrating that such black holes appear to reside even in dwarf galaxies. The mottled appearance of the galaxy in the 2MASS image is due to faint individual infrared-bright stars. The purplish spot due south of the nucleus is a known persistence artifact, created by the very bright image of the galactic nucleus.

Image mosaic by S. Van Dyk and R. Hurt (IPAC).