A 10 minute exposure taken with ST-9E CCD camera in June 2001.
International Astronomical Union Circular 7185 reported the discovery on May 29th 1999 of a supernova in M-88. It was 16.2 magnitude at discovery. This supernova was discovered by the Lick Observatory Supernova Search team. It has be steadily brightening, and observations indicate that it is a Type Ia supernova discovered before it has reached its peak brightness.
The Kopernik image shown here was taken at 5:54UT (2am local time) on June 5th, 1999, using our 20 inch telescope. It had reached about 13.5 magnitude, and we were able to visually observe it in the 20 inch telescope and a Celestron C-11.
Spiral galaxy M-88 is a part of the Coma/Virgo galaxy cluster. Various sources state that it has a distance of about 41 million light years, with a diameter of 90,000 light years, and a total mass equivalent to 100 billion suns. M-88 belongs to the class of galaxies with active nuclei known as Seyfert galaxies. (see also M-77) The galaxy was discovered by Charles Messier in March 1781.
Quote from the Deep Sky Field Guide to Uranometria 2000:
Very bright nucleus, many knotty filamentary arms with dark lanes.
Quote from The AstroPhysical Journal, 1995, 109.1608R:
This galaxy is very close to M87. However, the finely detailed spiral pattern argues strongly that this is a projection effect. NGC 4438 is only slightly nearer M87 (in angle), but shows evidence of a strong interaction.
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George Normandin, KAS
June 6th, 1999
Revised: June 23rd, 2001