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NGC 4472 (9,620 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Messier 49

NGC 4472, Arp 134, LEDA 41220, MCG+01-32-083, UGC 7629, Messier 49, I 7, h 1294, GC 3021

RA: 12h 29m 46.76s
Dec: +07° 59′ 59.9″

Con: Virgo
Ch: MSA:749, U2:193, SA:13


(reference key)

Type: galaxy (Seyfert 2), E...

Mag: B=10.2, V=?

Size: 9.772′ x 8.128′
PA: 155°

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

Synonyms: H I-007

On 23 January, 1784 William Herschel was observing with an 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope. In his Register he wrote: "Sweep 105 ... A beautiful nebula, not cometic. On comparing its place with Messier's Nebulae I find it to be his 61'st. It is visible in the finder and very bright in the telescope." The entry for 23 February 1784 reads: "The beautiful nebula of the 105 Sweep is not Messier's 61st, as was hastily surmised." Dreyer examined sketches made by Herschel and concluded that this object is No. 49 of Messier's Catalogue. Herschel described the nebula as "very bright, large, round." In the Appendix to the 1912 'Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel' this object is described as "Very bright, considerably large, gradually much brighter in the middle, extended with faint branches."

Published comments


A supernova erupted in this galaxy in 1969 (13.0p)

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"nebula, much B at the centre; spiral or globular cluster?"

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.

Arp (1966)

Listed as No. 134 in Arp's "Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies" (Astrophysical Journal Supplement, vol. 14, 1966.)

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

(Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 10.0 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads BE,R,BM.

Sandage, A. et al. (1975) Galaxies and the Universe

G. de Vaucouleurs ("Galaxies and the Universe", Chapter 14 - Nearby Groups of Galaxies) notes that the five brightest members of the Virgo I (E) group are NGC 4472, NGC 4649, NGC 4486, NGC 4382 & NGC 4374.

Maccarone, T.J. et al. (2010)

A new globular cluster black hole in NGC 4472. arXiv:1008.2896v1

The authors note that two globular clusters around this galaxy are host to a black hole.

Modern observations

Tom Lorenzin

Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "8.4M; 8' diameter; round, bright splotch with extensive, soft halo; 12M star 2' E of core, inside halo; bright center with no stellar nucleus; !good supernova prospect!; 2 small, faint spiral galaxies bracket M-49 N and S to the W; N4464 (12.7M; 1' diameter) 10' to NNW and N4470 (13M; 1.5' x 1' extent) 11' to SSW."

Danie L. Cronje


Cronje, observing with 10x50 binoculars, calls it "very faint. Only seen with averted vision. Seems to have brighter centre. (Seems fainter than mag 8.4 is M66 = 9.0.)"

Contemporary observations

Richard Ford

2011 March, 26th Saturday

Location:Night Sky,Bonnievale.

Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Sky Conditions:Whole Milky Way is visible.

Transparency of the Sky:The sky is clean.

Seeing:Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Limiting Magnitude:Magnitude 6.



Object Type:Galaxy.

First Impression:This object looks like a round galaxy.



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

Size:26mm Super Wide Field Eyepiece:Field Of View:57'/9=6.3'.

20mm Ultra Wide Angle Eyepiece:Field Of View:50'/8=6.2'.

6.3'+ 6.2'=12.5'.


Size in Arc Minutes:6.2'.


Major Axis:6.2'.


Minor Axis:3.1'.

Galaxy is 6.2'* 3.1'.

Brightness:Magnitude 8.4.

Brightness Profile:From the far outskirts of this galaxy the nucleus grows brighter.

Challenge Rating:Easy.



At low magnification of 75* this galaxy has a fairly large round shape and is well defined.The nucleus of this galaxy is very condensed and it is seen as a bright core of light.It almost looks like a snowball.

Tom Bryant

2008-05-28 23:00:00

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-8

[12h 29m 48s, 8 0m 0s] AKA NGC 4472. A bright, compact elliptical. (E4, Burnham)

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