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Type: galaxy (Seyfert 2)
Mag: B=10.9, V=?
Size: 6.165′ x 5.888′
Synonyms: H I-139
Discovered in 1786 by William Herschel with an 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He called it "eB, vBN, resolvable, 6' or 7' diameter."
Three supernovae erupted in this galaxy; 1926 (12.6p), 1961 (10.8p), 1964 (13.0b)
Doig, P. (1925) Notes on the nebulae and clusters in Webb's 'Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes' (Sixth edition, Vol.ii). Part V. M.N.R.A.S., 36(3), 89.
(Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 10.5 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads SC,HISBCT,PD,.
G. de Vaucouleurs ("Galaxies and the Universe", Chapter 14 - Nearby Groups of Galaxies) notes that the five brightest members of the Virgo X group, a part of the Virgo II cloud complex, are NGC 4303, NGC 4636, NGC 4536, NGC 4517 & NGC 4643.
This galaxy appears on page 29 of "The Hubble Atlas of Galaxies" by Allan Sandage (1961, Washington, DC).
"nebula, bright nucleus, spiral."
Bailey, S.I. (1908) A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae. Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60(8), 199.
Lorenzin, in the electronic version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "10M; 5' diameter; large, soft nebulosity with patchy spiral arm sectors surrounds stellar core; see photo at HAG-29; extremely faint companion EL GAL N4303a (13.5M; 1' diameter) lies 8' to NE, 3' due E of a 12M star."
Coe, observing with a 13" f/5.6, notes: "(M 61) is bright, large, irregularly round, much brighter in the middle and has a distinct nucleus using powers from 135X to 200X. The arms are mottled and in moments of good seeing some spiral structure can be seen. This observation was made in the central mountains of Arizona on a night I rated 7/10 for seeing and 8/10 for contrast. 4301 is a companion and is very faint, small, round and not brighter in the middle. Averted vision helps pick out this dim galaxy."
Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.
Eyepieces:26mm Super Wide Field Eyepiece.
20mm Ultra Wide Angle Eyepiece.
Sky Conditions:Dark moon and stars magnitude 6 and fainter are barely visible with the naked eye.
Transparency of the Sky:The most clear sky possible.
Seeing:Excellent clean sky,limited star flickering and brilliant objects.
First Impression:This object looks like a large smudge of light.
Chart Number:No.11(Extract taken out of "Atlas of the Night Sky").
Size:26mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:57'/6=9.5'.
20mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:50'/5.5=9.0'.
Size in Arc Minutes:9.2'.
Galaxy is 9.2'*2.3'.
Brightness Profile:From the far outskirts of this galaxy it is fairly faint while towards the central outskirts of this galaxy it grows brighter in the central nucleus.
By observing this galaxy I have found that the galactic nucleus is slightly oval with some spiral structure.Around this galaxy I have found areas of uneven brightness.This galaxy has a fairly bright nucleus.The spiral arms of this galaxy are very faint to observe.
Observing site: Little Tycho Observatory
[12h 21m 54s, 4° 28m 0s] M 61
The Messier objects
The Bennett objects
The Caldwell list
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