Messier 61

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Messier 61[1]
A hungry starburst galaxy.jpg
Messier 61 taken by Hubble[2]
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement: Det58
Observation data
Epoch J2000
Constellation Virgo
Right ascension 12h 21m 54.9s[3]
Declination +04° 28′ 25″[3]
Apparent dimension (V) 6.5 × 5.8 moa[3]
Apparent magnitude (V) 10.18
Type SAB(rs)bc,[3] HIISy2[3]
Heliocentric radial velocity 1566 ± 2[3]km/s
Redshift 0.005224 ± 0.000007[3]
Galactocentric velocity 1483 ± 4[3] km/s
Distance 52.5 ± 2.3 Mly (16.10 ± 0.71 Mpc)
Other designations
NGC 4303,[3] UGC 07420,[3] PGC 040001,[3] MCG +01-32-022,[3] USGC U490 NED310,[3] MRC 1219+047,[3] GC 2878
Database references
SIMBAD Search M61 data
See also: Galaxy, List of galaxies

Messier 61 (also known as M61 or NGC 4303) is a barred spiral galaxy in the Virgo Cluster. It was discovered by Barnabus Oriani on May 5, 1779.


M61 is one of the largest members of Virgo, belonging to the subunit known as S Cloud[4][5]

It has an Active galactic nucleus[6] and it is classified as a starburst galaxy, with a candidate supermassive black hole with a mass around 5 million times that of our Sun on its center.[7] This object is associated with a young, massive star cluster with a mass 100,000 times the one of the Sun, a radius of 3.1 parsecs and an age of 4 million years.[8] Surrounding it, there's a nuclear spiral with a radius of 225 parsecs formed by several massive star-forming regions,[9] that may be associated with a second bar much smaller than the main one of this galaxy.[10]

Star formation is also high across M61's disk,[11] perhaps due to interactions with her satellite galaxies NGC 4292 and NGC 4303B.[12]

Unlike most late-type galaxies of the Virgo Cluster, M61 does not show a deficiency of neutral hydrogen[13]

Seven supernovae have been observed in this galaxy making it one of the most active Supernova galaxies known:[14][15][16]

  • SN 2014dt
  • SN 2008in
  • SN 2006ov
  • SN 1999gn
  • SN 1964F
  • SN 1961I
  • SN 1926A



  1. ^ Tschöke, D.; Hensler, G.; Junkes, N. (2000). "X-rays from the barred galaxy NGC 4303". Astronomy and Astrophysics 360 (2): 447–456. arXiv:astro-ph/0006361. Bibcode:2000A&A...360..447T. 
  2. ^ "A hungry starburst galaxy". ESA/Hubble Picture of the Week. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database". Results for M 61. Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  4. ^ "Galaxy On Line Database Milano Network (GOLDMine)". Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  5. ^ "The Virgo Cluster". Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  6. ^ Jiménez-Bailón, E.; Santos-Lleó, M.; Mas-Hesse, J. M.; Guainazzi, M.; Colina, L.; Cerviño, M.; González Delgado, Rosa M. (2003). "Nuclear Activity and Massive Star Formation in the Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nucleus NGC 4303: Chandra X-Ray Observations". The Astrophysical Journal 593 (1): 127–141. arXiv:astro-ph/0304465. Bibcode:2003ApJ...593..127J. doi:10.1086/376554. 
  7. ^ Pastorini, G.; Marconi, A.; Capetti, A.; Axon, D. J.; Alonso-Herrero, A.; Atkinson, J.; Batcheldor, D.; Carollo, C. M.; Collett, J.; Dressel, L.; Hughes, M. A.; Macchetto, D.; Maciejewski, W.; Sparks, W.; van der Marel, R. (2007). "Supermassive black holes in the Sbc spiral galaxies NGC 3310, NGC 4303 and NGC 4258". Astronomy and Astrophysics 469 (2): 405–423. arXiv:astro-ph/0703149. Bibcode:2007A&A...469..405P. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20066784. 
  8. ^ Colina, Luis; Gonzalez Delgado, Rosa; Mas-Hesse, J. Miguel; Leitherer, Claus (2002). "Detection of a Super-Star Cluster as the Ionizing Source in the Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nucleus NGC 4303". The Astrophysical Journal 579 (2): 545–553. Bibcode:2002ApJ...579..545C. doi:10.1086/342839. 
  9. ^ Colina, Luis; Garcia Vargas, Maria Luisa; Mas-Hesse, J. Miguel; Alberdi, A.; Krabbe, A. (1997). "Nuclear Spiral and Ring Star-forming Structures and the Starburst--Active Galactic Nucleus Connection in Barred Spirals NGC 3351 and NGC 4303". The Astrophysical Journal Letters 484: L41. Bibcode:1997ApJ...484L..41C. doi:10.1086/310766. 
  10. ^ Schinnerer, Eva; Maciejewski, Witold; Scoville, Nick; Moustakas, Leonidas A. (2002). "Toward the Secondary Bar: Gas Morphology and Dynamics in NGC 4303". The Astrophysical Journal 575 (2): 826–844. arXiv:astro-ph/0204133. Bibcode:2002ApJ...575..826S. doi:10.1086/341348. 
  11. ^ Koopmann, R.; Kenney, J. D. P. (2004). "Hα Morphologies and Environmental Effects in Virgo Cluster Spiral Galaxies". The Astrophysical Journal 613 (2): 866–885. arXiv:astro-ph/0406243. Bibcode:2004ApJ...613..866K. doi:10.1086/423191. 
  12. ^ Cayatte, V.; van Gorkom, J. H.; Balkowski, C.; Kotanyi, C. (1990). "VLA observations of neutral hydrogen in Virgo Cluster galaxies. I - The Atlas". The Astronomical Journal 100: 604–634. Bibcode:1990AJ....100..604C. doi:10.1086/115545. 
  13. ^ Kenney, J. D.; Young, J. S. (1986). "CO in H I-deficient Virgo cluster spiral galaxies". The Astrophysical Journal Letters to the Editor 301: L13–L17. Bibcode:1986ApJ...301L..13K. doi:10.1086/184614. 
  14. ^ Supernovae which have been observed in Messier catalog galaxies
  15. ^ "List of Supernovae". Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  16. ^ "Supernova in M61 (NGC 4303)". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: Sky map 12h 21m 54.9s, +04° 28′ 25″