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]
Apparent magnitude (V) 10.6[2]
Type E5[2]
Apparent size (V) 5′.4 × 3′.7[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. It is a member of the Virgo Cluster.


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] It has a satellite, the Ultra Compact Dwarf galaxy M59-UCD3.[11]


  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. arXiv:1506.08828. Bibcode:2015ApJ...808L..32S. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/808/1/L32.

External links[edit]

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