Thursday, November 18, 2010

M100 - Messier Object Research

M100 is a spiral galaxy about 60,000 klys away from earth, located at 12 hours and +15 degrees in the celestial sphere, right in the Virgo cluster. It is in the southern part of Coma Berenices and is most visible in May, around 9pm. This galaxy, also referred to as NCG 4321 (but does not have a common name), is a galaxy that faces us head-on, showing a spiral of bluish arms, indicating that the galaxy is pretty young. The shape of the galaxy is slightly unbalanced, indicating that there could be interactions with nearby galaxies. The galaxy is about 160,000 light years across and was discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1781. It has one satellite galaxy, NGC 4323, within it. The apparent magnitude of M100 is 9.3. The Hubble Space Telescope has imaged this galaxy a lot, which led to the discovery of cepheids about 56 million light years away, which helped to determine how far away M100 is. A standard telescope or some good astronomic binoculars are required to see it. It has five discovered supernovas, one discovered as early as 1901, and the most recent in 2006.

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