M61 is a magnitude 9.3 galaxy in Virgo. Charles Messier added this galaxy to his list after he mistook it for a comet he was attempting to find in May 1779. The galaxy had actually been discovered by Italian astronomer B. Oriani a few nights earlier while he was observing the same comet Messier was searching for.
This is a CCD image taken using an SBIG ST-8 CCD at prime focus on a Takahashi FS-128 refractor at f8. Guiding was accomplished with the built-in autoguider on the ST-8. I was relatively inexperienced at the time I took this image, and only had time for a 20 minute exposure just before sunrise.
M61 (NGC 4303)
RA: 12h 21m 55s Dec: +04d 28' 22" (J2000)
December 17, 1998
Image by Sid Leach
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Description of equipment used to acquire images.
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