Messier 59 or M59 (also designated NGC 4621) is a elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 9.6 and its angular diameter is 5x3.5 arc-minutes. M59 lies at an estimated distance of 60 million light years. The Equinox 2000 coordinates are RA= 12h 42m, Dec= +11° 39´ which makes M59 best seen during the spring. The Messier Spring Star Chart shows the position of all Messier objects visible during that season.
M59 was discovered by J. G. Koehler in 1779. It is one of the larger elliptical galaxies in the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. According to Stoyan et al. (2010), the distance of M59 is 48.3 million light years and its diameter is 76,000 light years. It contains 1500 or more globular clusters.
Messier's Description of M59
April 15, 1779
`Nebula in Virgo and in the neighborhood of the preceding [M58], on the parallel of epsilon [Virginis], which has served for its [position] determination: it is of the same light as the above, equally faint. M. Messier reported it on the Chart of the Comet of 1779.'
- Object: M59
- Other Names: NGC 4621
- Object Type: elliptical galaxy
- Object Data: Apparent Magnitude = 9.6, Angular Size = 5x3.5 arc-minutes
- Object Position (Equinox 2000): RA= 12h 42m, Dec= +11° 39´, 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.