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The massive elliptical galaxy M87 in the Virgo cluster is 53,490,000 light years away. It also contains one of the largest, heaviest supermassive black holes in the known Universe. But it's also my understanding that the stellar population of this galaxy is mostly old, red supergiants. Is there any evidence for new star formation in M87? If there isn't, what is the fate of this galaxy and what is it like in modern times? That may be impossible to know for sure but what I wonder is if the remaining stars and matter in the galaxy have been swallowed up by central black hole which may be thousands of lightyears across by now.

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Maybe it would be useful if you specified what do you mean by 'modern times'. I mean, we humans have been around for a few million years now, you don't expect a galaxy to change much in such a brief period of time. So your question regarding what is it doing these days, could be answered 'the same it has been doing ever since we knew of it existence'. –  harogaston Jul 4 at 12:40
    
Just because something is orbiting a black hole does not doom it to be vacuumed up. –  Jeremy Jul 4 at 19:58
    
@harogaston: By modern times I mean right NOW. Given its distance from Earth, light observed from M87 left that Galaxy millions of years ago. –  Mr X Jul 6 at 2:49
    
@Jeremy: I am aware of this, but the central black hole in M87 is actively sucking huge amounts of material into it. As that material falls in, much of it adds to the mass of the central black hole increasing its size and angular momentum(it is a Kerr black hole which means its rotating). Many of the stars in M87 are large, old stars which have exploded into supernovae or collapsed into black holes. Either way, their remnants are most likely part of the central supermassive black hole. –  Mr X Jul 6 at 2:53
    
Supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies are tiny in size compared to their galaxies so they are only able to grow their mass from objects nearby. So most stars and material from stellar remnants won't be "swallowed up" by the supermassive black hole. –  Aaron Jul 25 at 20:23

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