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Entire DOCdb database of 18,816 objects.



NGC 4406 (9,437 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Messier 86

NGC 4406, LEDA 40653, MCG+02-32-046, UGC 7532, Markarian Chain, Messier 86, h 1253, GC 2961

RA: 12h 26m 12.2s
Dec: +12° 56′ 44.5″

Con: Virgo
Ch: MSA:725, U2:193, SA:13


(reference key)

Type: galaxy (in cluster), S0

Mag: B=10.9, V=?

Size: 10.23′ x 6.76′
PA: 130°

History and Accurate Positions for the NGC/IC Objects (Corwin 2004)

NGC 4406. See NGC 4443.

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

In the Appendix to the 1912 'Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel' this object is described as "1784, April 8. Two resolvable nebulae at 4 or 5' distance. 1784, April 17. Two B, cL, nebulae. one is the 86th of the Connoissance, the other is I.28."

Published comments

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"neb; elongated, B at centre; spiral?"

Bailey, S.I. (1908) A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae. Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60(8), 199.

Doig, P. (1925)

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.

Sandage, A. (1961) The Hubble Atlas of Galaxies

This galaxy appears on page 1 of "The Hubble Atlas of Galaxies" by Allan Sandage (1961, Washington, DC).

Markarian (1961)

(1961, Astronomical Journal, Volume 66, p555-557) suggests that this galaxy is part of a slightly bent physical chain of galaxies extending over about 1.5 degrees in the Virgo cluster. The eight galaxies forming this chain are NGC 4374, NGC 4406, NGC 4435, NGC 4438, NGC 4458, NGC 4461, NGC 4473 & NGC 4477. Markarian reaches the conclusion, based on a probabilistic argument, that "the chain of galaxies in the Virgo cluster is not a chance grouping but a real physical system."

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

(Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 11.0 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads BE,R,BM,VLGDIF HALO.


A supernova erupted in this galaxy in 1980 (14.0v)

Modern observations

Walter Scott Houston

Notes that this galaxy has a very faint companion just 1.5' northeast of its centre.

Tom Lorenzin

Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "10M; 7' x 6' extent; soft with stellar nucleus; see photo at HAG-1; SP GAL N4402 (13M; 2' x 1' extent) soft, E-W-oriented slash 10' due N; SP GAL N4413 (13M; 1' x 2' extent) 20' just E of S; SP GAL N4425 (12M; 3' x 1' extent) 18' to SE; most are good supernova prospects."

Steve Coe

Coe, observing with a 13" f/5.6, notes: "(M 86) very bright, large, little elongated, much brighter middle leading to a bright nucleus at 165X."

AJ Crayon

Crayon, using an 8" f/6 Newtonian, notes: "(M86) is an elliptical galaxy. At 80X it is 10' 9m has a gradually brighter 2' middle."

Contemporary observations

Richard Ford

2010 May,15 Saturday


Instrument:12"Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Sky Conditions: The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.

Transparency of the Sky:Haziness only visible on the horizon.

Seeing:Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Limiting Magnitude:4.9.

First Impression:Galaxy.



Chart Number:No.11(Extract taken out of "Atlas of the Night Sky").

Size:26mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:57'/8=7.1'.

20mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:50'/7=7.1'.



Size in Arc Minutes:7.1'.


Brightness Profile:Low Surface Brightness.

Challenge Rating:A fantastic sight to observe in extremely dark skies under a large telescope.



This galaxy is oval and well defined as a large elliptical galaxy.This galaxy looks like an out of focus elliptical galaxy with a rugby ball appearance.This galaxy's areas are evenly bright all over and presents a brilliant nucleus which is centrally concentrated.In this galaxy there are some areas where slight dust lanes have been observed.So far no darker areas have been observed although there are a few faint stars in the magnitude range of 11th to 12th magnitude.This galaxy has no areas of uneven brightness.

Tom Bryant

2007-05-11 23:00:00

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-8

[12h 26m 12s, 12 57m 0s] Bright Elliptical in Virgo in a spectacular field with M84, N4338 and N4387.

Favourite lists

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The Messier objects

Dunlop's catalogue

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