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Galaxy

Messier 60

Messier 60 is a giant elliptical galaxy located in the constellation Virgo, reaching its annual culmination at astronomical midnight around April 1st.

Messier 60, also known as M60, is a massive elliptical galaxy situated approximately 55 million light-years from Earth. It is one of the largest galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, housing a supermassive black hole at its center. M60 exhibits a bright, dense core and a smooth, elliptical shape typical of its galaxy type.

Catalog numbers and names

  • Messier: M60
  • UGC: UGC 7898
  • NGC: NGC 4649

Position and the cosmic neighborhood

Messier 60 is positioned in the eastern part of the Virgo Cluster, a rich cluster of galaxies approximately 55 million light-years away. It is located close to another elliptical galaxy, NGC 4647, with which it forms a notable galaxy pair. The galaxy is part of the Virgo constellation, which is a prominent feature of the spring sky in the Northern Hemisphere. M60’s vicinity in the sky is populated with several other Messier objects and numerous faint galaxies, making it a region of interest for both amateur and professional astronomers.

Facts

  • M60 is one of the largest elliptical galaxies in the Virgo Cluster.
  • It has a nearby companion galaxy, NGC 4647, which is believed to be interacting with M60.

Brightness, distance and size

Messier 60 has an apparent magnitude of 8.8, making it one of the brighter galaxies in the Virgo Cluster visible through small telescopes. It lies at a distance of approximately 55 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy spans about 120,000 light-years in diameter, comparable to the size of the Milky Way. In the night sky, M60 appears with an angular size of roughly 7.4 by 6.0 arcminutes.

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