M58

M58

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.

For more information, see the Messier Catalog as well as specific entries for M58 in Wikipedia and SEDS.

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.'

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