Messier 60

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Messier 60
Messier 60 Hubble WikiSky.jpg
M60 by Hubble Space Telescope; 3.33′ view
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
Constellation Virgo[1]
Right ascension 12h 43m 39.6s[2]
Declination +11° 33′ 09″[2]
Redshift 0.003726[2]
Helio radial velocity 1117 ± 6 km/s[2]
Distance (comoving) 16.8 ± 1.2 Mpc
Distance 55 ± 4 Mly (16.8 ± 1.2 Mpc)[3]
Apparent magnitude (V) 9.8[2]
Type E2[2]
Apparent size (V) 7′.4 × 6′.0[2]
Other designations
M60, NGC 4649,[2] UGC 7898,[2] PGC 42831[2]
Arp 116,[2] GC 3182.[2]
See also: Galaxy, List of galaxies

Messier 60, also known as NGC 4649, is an elliptical galaxy approximately 55 million light-years away[3] in the constellation Virgo. It is part of a pair of galaxies known as Arp 116 with NGC 4647.[4]


Messier 60 and the nearby galaxy Messier 59 were both discovered by Johann Gottfried Koehler in April 1779 during observations of a comet in the same part of the sky.[5] Charles Messier listed both in the Messier Catalogue about three days after Koehler's discovery.[5]


Overlapping galaxy NGC 4647[edit]

NGC 4647 appears approximately 2′.5 from Messier 60; the optical disks of the two galaxies overlap. Although this overlap suggests that the galaxies are interacting, photographic images of the two galaxies do not reveal any evidence for gravitational interactions between the two galaxies as would be suggested if the two galaxies were physically close to each other.[6] This suggests that the galaxies are at different distances and are only weakly interacting if at all.[6] However, recent studies by the Hubble Space Telescope show indications that tidal interactions may have just begun.[4] The pair together is collectively known as Arp 116 (APG 116).[4]


M60 has several satellite galaxies. One of them is the ultracompact dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1.[7]

Virgo Cluster membership[edit]

M60 is the third-brightest giant elliptical galaxy of the Virgo cluster of galaxies, and is the dominant member of a subcluster of four galaxies, which is the closest-known isolated compact group of galaxies.[8]


In 2004, supernova SN 2004W was observed in Messier 60.[9]

Black Hole[edit]

At the center of M60 is a black hole of 4.5 billion solar masses, one of the largest ever found.[10]


See also[edit]


  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 i j k l "NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database". Results for Messier 60. Retrieved 2006-12-13.
  3. ^ a b J. L. Tonry; A. Dressler; J. P. Blakeslee; E. A. Ajhar; A. B. Fletcher; G. A. Luppino; 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 c "Odd Galaxy Couple On Space Voyage". Science Daily. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-11.
  5. ^ a b K. G. Jones (1991). Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37079-5.
  6. ^ a b A. Sandage; J. Bedke (1994). Carnegie Atlas of Galaxies. Carnegie Institution of Washington. ISBN 0-87279-667-1.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Mamon, G. A. (2008-07-01). "The nature of the nearest compact group of galaxies from precise distance measurements". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 486 (1): 113–117. arXiv:0803.3181. Bibcode:2008A&A...486..113M. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:200809827. ISSN 0004-6361. line feed character in |title= at position 66 (help)
  9. ^ [1] Supernova 2004W in M60
  10. ^ Juntai Shen; Karl Gebhardt (2010). "The Supermassive Black Hole and Dark Matter Halo of NGC 4649 (M60)". The Astrophysical Journal. 711: 484–494. arXiv:0910.4168 [astro-ph]. Bibcode:2010ApJ...711..484S. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/711/1/484. Cite uses deprecated parameter |class= (help)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: Sky map 12h 43m 39.6s, +11° 33′ 09″