Spiral Galaxy M-90 (NGC 4569 & Arp 76) in Virgo

M-90 a Spiral Galaxy in Virgo

This is a CCD image taken with an STL-1301E CCD camera thru Kopernik's 20 inch F/8.1 telescope.

Charles Messier: (March 18th 1781) 'Nebula without star in Virgo. Its light as faint as M-89'

M-90 is a bright Spiral Galaxy in Virgo discovered by Messier in March 1781. It is about 1.7 degrees north east of M-89, and is seen at about 45 degrees from face-on. The inner spiral arms have heavy dust lanes that go nearly to the high surface brightness nucleus. Recent observations show that a massive cluster of stars dominates the very center of the nucleus. The soft texture of the spiral arms and the heavy dust lanes near the center of this galaxy were described as "massive" by Reynolds and Hubble. There is partial resolution of one of the inner dust lanes into knots, which are presumed to be HII regions.

This galaxy is also known as Arp 76 and is in Arp's class "spiral galaxies with small high surface brightness companions on arms; apparent gap between arm and companion".

Note the 3 or 4 dim background galaxies in the image above, and Irregular Galaxy IC 3583 near the top of the image.

M90 and IC 3583 are members of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster and are about 50 million light years away.

George Normandin, KAS

July 3rd, 2008