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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2005

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M61 Galaxy , Keith Bareman

M61 Galaxy

M61 is in the Virgo constellation near the center of the Virgo cluster. It is one of the larger galaxies, measuring over 100,00 light years in diameter, which is way bigger than the Earth or even the Sun. It is about 60 million light years from the earth, which means it would take quite a while to travel to. Originally it was thought to be a comet because its low luminosity makes it appear fuzzy in the sky, even to small optic instruments. Really big telescopes are needed if you want to see it with any detail. Or you could just study this picture. M61 is also known as Messier Object 61 or NGC 4303. It is a spiral galaxy, which adds to its hipness in my opinion. It was discovered by Barnabus Oriani on May 5, 1779. He was pretty proud of himself. It is comparable in size to the Milky Way (not the candy bar).

In this picture you can see M61. Cool, huh? The linear size of M61 is 52,356 light-years. The angular size of M61 is approximately 3 arc minutes. This undoubtedly reflects the glory of God.

References:
The Sky

Spiral Galaxy M61

Right Ascension (J2000) 12:22:12
Declination (J2000) +04:26:31
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR
Date observed

March 15, 2005 (C)
March 15, 2005(BVR)