Bucking the trend

This luminous orb is the galaxy NGC 4621, better known as Messier 59. As this latter moniker indicates, the galaxy was listed in the famous catalogue of deep-sky objects compiled by French comet-hunter Charles Messier in 1779. However, German astronomer Johann Gottfried Koehler is credited with discovering the galaxy just days before Messier added it to his collection.   

Modern observations show that Messier 59 is an elliptical galaxy, one of the three main kinds of galaxies along with spirals and irregulars. Ellipticals tend to be the most evolved of the trio, full of old, red stars and exhibiting little or no new star formation. Messier 59, however, bucks this trend somewhat; the galaxy does show signs of star formation, with some newborn stars residing within a disc near the core.

Located in the 2000-strong Virgo Cluster of galaxies within the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin), Messier 59 lies approximately 50 million light-years away from us. This image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA, P. Cote

About the Image

Id:potw1921a
Type:Observation
Release date:27 May 2019, 06:00
Size:3762 x 3000 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 4621
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Elliptical
Constellation:Virgo
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.0 MB
Screensize JPEG
105.5 KB

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Wallpapers

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110.0 KB
1280x1024
187.6 KB
1600x1200
299.1 KB
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2048x1536
532.5 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):12 42 2.17
Position (Dec):11° 38' 47.46"
Field of view:3.13 x 2.50 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 105.8° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
g
475 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
V
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
i
702 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
z
850 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
i
702 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
z
850 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

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