Messier 58 or M58 (also designated NGC 4579) is a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 9.7 and its angular diameter is 5.5x4.5 arc-minutes. M58 lies at an estimated distance of 60 million light years. The Equinox 2000 coordinates are RA= 12h 37.7m, Dec= +11° 49´ which makes M58 best seen during the spring. The Messier Spring Star Chart shows the position of all Messier objects visible during that season.
The image above shows the uncropped view of M58 (upper right), M59, and M60 (left) through the Takahashi E-180 Astrograph (North is up). A 3x enlargement of this image centered on M58 appears to the right.
M58 was discovered by Messier in 1779. The 3rd Earl of Rosse included it in his list of 14 "spiral nebulae" in 1850. M58 is one of four barred spiral galaxies included in the Messier Catalog (M58, M91, M95, and M109), and is one of the brightest galaxies in the Virgo Cluster. According to Stoyan et al. (2010), the distance of M58 is 62.5 million light years and its diameter is 107,000 light years. Its estimated mass is 300 billion solar masses.
Messier's Description of M58
April 15, 1779
`Very faint nebula discovered in Virgo, almost on the same parallel as epsilon [Virginis], 3rd mag. The slightest light for illuminating the micrometer wires makes it disappear. M. Messier reported it on the chart of the Comet of 1779, which is located inthe volume of the Academy for the same year.'
- Object: M58
- Other Names: NGC 4579
- Object Type: barred spiral galaxy
- Object Data: Apparent Magnitude = 9.7, Angular Size = 5.5x4.5 arc-minutes
- Object Position (Equinox 2000): RA= 12h 37.7m, Dec= +11° 49´, Constellation = Virgo
- Date/Time: 2011 Apr 23 at 05:49 UTC
- Location: Bifrost Astronomical Observatory, Portal, AZ
- Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
- Telescope: Takahashi Epsilon 180 Hyperbolic Astrograph
- Camera: Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) (modified with a Baader UV/IR filter)
- Field of View: 1.70° x 2.56° at 1.7 arc-sec/pixel (web version: 10.0 arc-sec/pixel)
- Exposure: 4 x 300s, f/2.8, ISO 800
- File Name: M58M59M60-01w.jpg
- Processing (Adobe Camera Raw): Graduated Filter, Vignetting Correction, Noise Reduction, White Balance, Curves
- Processing (Photoshop CS5): Average Images, Curves, Noise Reduction
- Original Image Size: 3454 × 5179 pixels (17.9 MP); 11.5" x 17.3" @ 300 dpi
- Rights: Copyright 2011 by Fred Espenak. All Rights Reserved. See: Image Licensing.