Messier 59 and Messier 60

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All of them located in the constellation Virgo, M59 (NGC 4621) is the elliptical galaxy at the upper right of this image and M60 (NGC 4649) is the larger elliptical galaxy at the lower left. The spiral galaxy near M60 is NGC 4647 and, together, they form Arp 116. Although they seem to be very close to each other, the real distance between them is about 8 million light years. They might be starting to interact or they will start in the “near” (cosmologically speaking) future. The lenticular galaxy at the bottom right is NGC 4638. M59 has an unusual number of globular clusters (approx. 2200), for its size, and about two dozen of them can be glimpsed in this image. M59 has a central black hole with a mass about 270 million times our Sun and M60 has one of the most massive black holes ever detected, about 4.5 billion times the Sun’s mass.


Additional Information


Name(s): Messier 59 and Messier 60

Type: Elliptical Galaxies

RA:  12h 43m 40s (M60)

Dec: +11º 33’ 09” (M60)

Constellation: Virgo

Size (arcmin): 7.5×6.0 arcmin (M60)

Magnitude: +9.8

Distance: 55 Mly (M60)


Date: 2021-06-07 to 2021-06-12

Location: Curiosity2 Observatory, New Mexico Skies, Mayhill, NM, USA

Size (arcmin): 31×31 arcmin

Telescope: 24” (61 cm) f/6.5 Reflector

Camera: FLI PL16803 (4096x4096pix)

Guiding: Astrodon MonsterMOAG off-axis guider

Total exposure: 7.5 hours (L: 3 h; RGB: 4.5 h)

Processing: CCDStack, Photoshop CC 2021



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