Elliptical galaxies tend to be shaped like footballs or spheres. The largest, and rarest, ellipticals have a diameter of at least 100,000 light-years, and may contain more than 10,000 billion stars.
Of the sky's brightest galaxies, large ellipticals—such as M84 and M86 in Virgo-make up about 20 percent.
Much more common are the faint dwarf ellipticals, which contain just a few million stars , and may be no more than
1,000 light-years across. The companions orbiting the
Andromeda Galaxy, M32 and
MHO, are dwarf ellipticals.