Messier 59

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Messier 59
M59 2MASS (near-infrared)
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
Constellation Virgo[1]
Right ascension 12h 42m 02.3s[2]
Declination +11° 38′ 49″[2]
Redshift 410 ± 6 km/s[2]
Distance 60 ± 5 Mly (18.3 ± 1.7 Mpc)[3]
Type E5[2]
Apparent dimensions (V) 5′.4 × 3′.7[2]
Apparent magnitude (V) 10.6[2]
Other designations
NGC 4621,[2] UGC 7858, PGC 42628,[2] GC 3155.
See also: Galaxy, List of galaxies

Messier 59 (also known as M59 or NGC 4621) is an elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo.


Messier 59 and the nearby elliptical galaxy Messier 60 were both discovered by Johann Gottfried Koehler in April 1779 during observations of a comet in the same part of the sky.[4] Charles Messier listed both in the Messier Catalogue about three days after Koehler's discovery.[4]

One supernova (1939B) has been recorded in M59; it reached a peak magnitude of 11.9.[5]


Messier 59's core contains a supermassive black hole, with a mass that has been estimated to be 270 million times the mass of the Sun,[6] and counter-rotates with respect of the rest of the galaxy, being bluer.[7] This galaxy also has an inner disk of stars[8][9] and is very rich in globular clusters, with a population of them that has been estimated in around 2200.[10] In addition, it is host to an Ultra Compact Dwarf galaxy M59-UCD3.[11]

Virgo Cluster membership[edit]

M59 is a member of the Virgo Cluster.


  1. ^ R. W. Sinnott, ed. (1988). The Complete New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters by J. L. E. Dreyer. Sky Publishing Corporation / Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-933346-51-4. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database". Results for NGC 4621. Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  3. ^ J. L. Tonry; A. Dressler; J. P. Blakeslee; et al. (2001). "The SBF Survey of Galaxy Distances. IV. SBF Magnitudes, Colors, and Distances". Astrophysical Journal 546 (2): 681–693. arXiv:astro-ph/0011223. Bibcode:2001ApJ...546..681T. doi:10.1086/318301. 
  4. ^ a b K. G. Jones (1991). Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37079-5. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Wrobel, J. M.; Terashima, Y.; Ho, L. C. (2008). "Outflow-dominated Emission from the Quiescent Massive Black Holes in NGC 4621 and NGC 4697". The Astrophysical Journal 675 (2): 1041–1047. arXiv:0712.1308. Bibcode:2008ApJ...675.1041W. doi:10.1086/527542. 
  7. ^ Wernli, F.; Emsellem, E.; Copin, Y. (2001). "A 60 pc counter-rotating core in NGC 4621". Astronomy&Astrophysics 396: 73–81. arXiv:astro-ph/0209361. Bibcode:2002A&A...396...73W. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20021333. 
  8. ^ Mizuno, Takao; Oikawa, Ken-Ichi. (1996). "Two-Dimensional Decomposition of a Disky Elliptical Galaxy, NGC 4621". Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan 48: 591–600. Bibcode:1996PASJ...48..591M. doi:10.1093/pasj/48.4.591. 
  9. ^ Krajnović, D.; Jaffe, W. (2004). "HST observations of nuclear stellar disks". Astronomy&Astrophysics 428: 877–890. arXiv:astro-ph/0409061. Bibcode:2004A&A...428..877K. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20040359. 
  10. ^ "Globular Cluster Systems in Galaxies Beyond the Local Grup.". NASA-IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED). Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  11. ^ Sandoval, Michael A.; Vo, Richard P.; Romanowsky, Aaron J.; Strader, Jay; Choi, Jieun; Jennings, Zachary G.; Conroy, Charlie; Brodie, Jean P.; Foster, Caroline; Villaume, Alexa; Norris, Mark A.; Janz, Joachim; Forbes, Duncan A. (23 July 2015). "HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: RECORD-BREAKING COMPACT STELLAR SYSTEMS IN THE SLOAN DIGITAL SKY SURVEY". The Astrophysical Journal 808 (1): L32. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/808/1/L32. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: Sky map 12h 42m 02.3s, +11° 38′ 49″