Dehnen W. (1999) M 87 as a galaxy. In: Röser HJ., Meisenheimer K. (eds) The Radio Galaxy Messier 87. Lecture Notes in Physics, vol 530. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
I review recent studies about the gravitational potential and stellar dynamics of M 87 in particular, and the dynamics of the stars in the presence of a super-massive central black hole, in general.
At large radii, investigations of both the X-ray emitting gas and the velocity distribution of globular clusters indicate the presence of large amounts of non-luminous matter, possibly belonging to the inner parts of the Virgo cluster.
At small radii, there is no evidence from the stellar kinematics, at most a hint, for the existence of a central point mass, whereas the gas dynamics reveal the presence of a highly concentrated mass in the centre of M 87, possibly a super-massive black hole (bh). Given the existence of such a central mass, the stellar kinematics indicate a strong tangential anisotropy of the stellar motion inside a few arcesconds. The implications of this result for the evolution and formation history of M 87 and its central bh are discussed. I also discuss in more general terms the structural changes that a highly concentrated central mass can induce in its parent galaxy.