Credits: NASA, ESA, STScI and A. Sarajedini (University of Florida)

Messier 59 (M59) is an elliptical galaxy located in the southern constellation Virgo. The galaxy has an apparent magnitude of 10.6. M59 lies at an approximate distance of 60 million light years from Earth. It has the designation NGC 4621 in the New General Catalogue. Messier 59 is best seen in larger telescopes. Smaller instruments will only reveal a small elliptical patch with a brighter core. Messier 59 has an exceptionally large number of globular clusters. Astronomers have estimated a population of about 2,200 globulars, which is an impressive number, even if the three giant Messier ellipticals – M87, M49 and M60 – contain even more. M59 is also known to contain an inner disk of stars.

Facts about M59 by Keith Turnecliff

The central region of M59 is clearer in medium-sized and large telescopes, but even larger instruments do not reveal much detail. The best time of year to observe M59 is during the spring.

This star chart represents the view from Long Itchington for mid May at 10pm.
Credits: Image courtesy of Starry Night Pro Plus 8, researched and implemented by Keith Turnecliff.