Messier 59

Messier 59

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.

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


  • History 1
  • Characteristics 2
  • Virgo Cluster membership 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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

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.  
  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".  
  4. ^ a b K. G. Jones (1991). Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters (2nd ed.).  
  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.  
  7. ^ Wernli, F.; Emsellem, E.; Copin, Y. (2001). "A 60 pc counter-rotating core in NGC 4621". Astronomy&Astrophysics 396: 73–81.  
  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.  
  9. ^ Krajnović, D.; Jaffe, W. (2004). "HST observations of nuclear stellar disks". Astronomy&Astrophysics 428: 877–890.  
  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.  

External links

  • Elliptical Galaxy M59 @ SEDS Messier pages
  • Messier 59 on WikiSky: DSS2, SDSS, GALEX, IRAS, Hydrogen α, X-Ray, Astrophoto, Sky Map, Articles and images