M60 is a bright magnitude 8.8 elliptical galaxy in Virgo. With a total mass of about trillion suns, it is one of the largest elliptical galaxies known. M60 is about five times as massive as our Milky Way galaxy. It is comparable in mass to M49. The diameter is about 25,000 light-years. This galaxy was discovered in April 1779 by J.G. Koehler while observing a comet. He also discovered nearby M59 at the same time. Charles Messier observed this galaxy a few nights later as the comet of 1779 passed through on April 13 and 14 of that year. M60 forms a close pair with spiral galaxy NGC 4647, shown next to M60 in this image (NGC 4647 is at the upper left of M60). The companion NGC 4647 spiral galaxy has only about one tenth the mass of M60. M60 is in an area of the sky in Virgo that is rich in galaxies. The small galaxy above M60 near the edge of this image is NGC 4667. The small galaxy in the lower right corner of this image is NGC 4660. A number of other faint galaxies can also be detected in this image.
This is an LRGB color composite CCD image taken with an SBIG STL-11000M CCD on a Takahashi FCT-150 refractor at f7. The telescope was carried on a Takahashi NJP Temma mount. Guiding was accomplished with the STL-11000 remote guide head mounted on a Takahashi FS-78 guidescope. This image was taken from my backyard in Scottsdale.
M60 (NGC 4649)
RA: 12h 44m 05s Dec: +11d 30' 20"
January 18 & 19, 2008
Image by Sid Leach
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Description of equipment used to acquire images.
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