lunes, 19 de marzo de 2018


Messier 59 | NASA

collage of Hubble Messier object images and portrait of Messier

Messier 59

Hubble image of M59
Credits: NASA, ESA, STScI, and W. Jaffe (Sterrewacht Leiden) and P. Côté (Dominion Astrophysical Observatory)
M59 is one of the largest elliptical galaxies in the Virgo galaxy cluster. However, it is still considerably less massive, and at a magnitude of 9.8, less luminous than other elliptical galaxies in the cluster.
A supermassive black hole around 270 million times as massive as the Sun resides at the center of M59. The galaxy also has an inner disk of stars and around 2,200 globular clusters, an exceptionally high number of such clusters. The central region of the galaxy, the inner 200 light-years, rotates in the opposite direction than the rest of the galaxy and is the smallest region in a galaxy known to exhibit this behavior.
Approximately 60 million light-years from Earth, M59 can be found near M58 and M60 in the constellation Virgo. It is best seen in May. Small telescopes might reveal an ellipsoidal shape with a bright center, but even larger scopes do not reveal much detail.
German astronomer Johann Gottfried Koehler discovered M59 and the nearby galaxy M60 in the spring of 1779 when observing the comet of that year (Comet Bode). While observing that same comet, Charles Messier observed and added M59, M60 and the neighboring M58 to his catalog.
Both Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 contributed to this view, producing a multi-wavelength image in ultraviolet, near-infrared and visible light. About half of M59 can be seen in this image, as well as some of the galaxy’s globular clusters (appearing as bright points of light). Several background galaxies also make an appearance. Hubble took these observations to study early-type galaxies, which are often elliptical galaxies found near the centers of galaxy clusters. By looking at these galaxies with Hubble, astronomers can determine the galaxies’ structure and study the history of galaxy and cluster formation.
star chart showing location in night sky of M59
This star chart for M59 represents the view from mid-northern latitudes for the given month and time.
Credits: Image courtesy of Stellarium
Last Updated: March 16, 2018
Editor: Rob Garner

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