This image is a mosaic of two 10-minute exposures taken with a ST-9E CCD Camera thru Kopernik's 20-inch F/8.1 telescope. The field of view is 9.5' x 12.0' arc minutes with East at the top.
Click here to see our old ST-6 color image of this galaxy.
Messier's friend P. Mechain discovered Spiral Galaxy M-98 in March 1781. Messier described it as "Nebula without star, of extremely faint light...." Except for the bright nuclear region, this galaxy has a very low surface brightness, and it would seem that Messier did not see all of it.
M-98 is highly inclined to the line of sight and our image shows widely scattered bright spots, and dust lanes in the disk. There is a dust lane cutting across the bulge. This lane is probably in a spiral arm and only appears to cut the nucleus because of the high inclination of the galaxy. Keel (1983) classifies the spectrum of the nucleus of this galaxy as "low ionization." This indicates that star formation is occurring in the nucleus.
M-98 is also unusual in that it is approaching the Milky Way, rather than moving away, like most of the galaxies in the Coma-Virgo region. Holmberg thought that this showed that M-98 was not a part of the Virgo galaxy cluster. However, other astronomers believe that M-98 is a Virgo cluster member whose local motion in the cluster is high enough to offset the general recession motion of the cluster.
The Deep Sky Field Guide to Uranometria 2000:
Very small, extremely bright nucleus partly hidden by dark lane; smooth bar or lens 5.0x0.85 with many dark lanes.
Click below to
George Normandin, KAS
September 15th, 1999
Revised June 17th, 2003