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Entire DOCdb database of 18,816 objects.



NGC 4501 (9,697 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Messier 88

NGC 4501, LEDA 41517, MCG+03-32-059, UGC 7675, Messier 88, h 1312, GC 3049

RA: 12h 31m 59.34s
Dec: +14° 25′ 13.4″

Con: Coma Berenices
Ch: MSA:725, U2:193, SA:14


(reference key)

Type: galaxy (Seyfert 2), Sbc

Mag: B=10.6, V=?

Size: 6.76′ x 3.63′
PA: 140°

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

Synonyms: H II-118

On the night of April 8, 1784, William Herschel, using an 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope, recorded "M88 with a small one after it, the moon light so strong that I had nearly overlooked the latter." Dreyer notes that "M88 was observed again on January 14, 1787, when there is no mention of the small nebula. It is only two very faint stars, involved in the nebula, according to Tempel, not involved in the Birr drawing." The NGC records it as "bright, very large, very much elongated."

In the Appendix to the 1912 'Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel' this object is described as "1784, April 8, B, pL, resolvable with a small one after it; moonlight so strong that I had nearly overlooked the latter. 1787, January 14, vB, vL, E."

Lassell, W. (1866)

Bibcode: [1866MmRAS..36....1L]

Sketched and described.

Published comments

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 (S) group are NGC 4321, NGC 4501, NGC 4254, NGC 4569 & NGC 4579.

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 11.0 mag galaxy.

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.

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

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

"nebula, spiral, elongated at 150°, 3.0' x 1.5'; bright nucleus"

Modern observations

Hartung, E.J. (1968) Astron.Obj.South.Tel

Hartung notes that this is "a fine large ellipse about 4' x 2' in pa 140 deg, rising much to a broad bright centre . . it is faint with 7.5cm but the elongation may be seen."

Sanford (1989) Observing the Constellations

Sanford calls M88 a "compact spiral similar in structure to the Great Galaxy in Andromeda, M31. It appears as a grey-coloured ellipse with no structure apparent until it is seen in very large telescopes. There is a wide double star just to the south and also a closer pair seen against the southern part of the galaxy with larger telescopes." This galaxy is a member of the Virgo Cluster.

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "10M; 6' x 3' extent; bright, large and elongated with axis oriented NW-SE; 14 and 15M tight star pair on SE end; SP GAL N4548 (M-91?) to 50' E; SP GAL N4571 30' farther SE near 9M star."

[amastro] M88 SN comparison sequence

Although there is no sequence specifically for NGC 4501 = Messier 88, the Misselt BVR data for the dwarf nova AL Comae in the adjacent field may be suitable at least for CCD observers. N.B. that I have adjusted Misselt's V magnitudes upward (brighter) by 0.04 to compensate roughly for the typical zero-point offset in his data.

In addition, there are several brighter stars close to M88 measured by Richard Stanton. The data are not published, and I have used the Thompson & Bryan chart for the galaxy (which shows AL Com also) to get positions and the rough V magnitudes for his stars.

Finally it is worth noting that the offset from V for the GSC magnitudes is quite small, and these might be used for some additional sequence stars.


Name RA (2000) Dec s GSC V B-V V-R R

[S66c] 1200+15 8 12 32 07.5 +14 42 52 G 0880-0941 11.24 0.33 (0.21) 11.03

AL Com 1 12 32 16.0 +14 19 21 A 16.77 0.77 0.46 16.31

AL Com 2 12 32 26.6 +14 21 17 A 16.93 0.47 0.32 16.61

AL Com 3 12 32 27.9 +14 21 51 A 16.69 0.70 0.36 16.33

AL Com 4 12 32 29.7 +14 20 16 A 17.81 0.64 0.36 17.45

Note: V-R in parens derived from B-V

Stanton V sequence

NGC 4501 119 12 32 03.9 +14 20 08 A 0880-0226 11.9

NGC 4501 120 12 31 57.1 +14 28 52 A 0880-0023 12.0

NGC 4501 135 12 32 10.0 +14 20 15 A 0880-0182 13.5

NGC 4501 137 12 32 01.2 +14 31 23 A 0880-0266 13.7

NGC 4501 139 12 32 09.5 +14 15 54 A 0880-0093 13.9

NGC 4501 147 12 32 08.8 +14 28 44 A 0880-0188 14.7


Brian Skiff

= M88

POSS: pa140. inv pair: 15" sep in pa200. brtr pair: 30" sep in pa30.

T&B: * NE V=12.0; closer of pair SW V=11.9.

7cm - fairly br mod lg oval @ 50x. mod even concen to sm core and occas-vis sub*ar nuc. pair on SW side, single * NE just off halo. length ~sep of these. BS, 15Apr1993, Anderson Mesa.

15cm - impressive. neb encroaches on *s at opposite ends. brtr core, fairly broad, fading steeply at edges. FtL.

25cm - 4'x1'.5 elong SE-NW. lg br core. wide dbl* on S sode and m12 * on SE edge. threshold mag points in neb. FtL.

- 7'x3' elong SE-NW w/br core. a spike of neb extends from core NW, not so SE. *ar nuc. SE 2' from center is *. br pair S not in contact. at 5' is * or neb not connected to gx. Roof.

- lg, vbr, pa135, 6'x2'.5. pair in SE side (m13.8,14.2) res. br wide pair SE (m11.5,12.5). SE side of halo seems triangular and of lower sfcbr, NE side has oval outline and is brtr. core smoothly brtr oval, smooth texture and w/same proportions as halo. in center is non*ar nuc. BS, 24Mar1982, Anderson Mesa.

Contemporary observations

Tom Bryant

2008-05-04 22:30:00

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-8

[12h 32m 0s, 14 25m 0s] A bright spiral like NGC 253, with a bright middle. AKA M 88.

2007-03-20 10:30:00

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-8

[12h 32m 0s, 14 25m 0s] A minature M31, but a bit less tilted. Quite nice. There is a double of 11th or 12th Mv stars just south that looks like another galaxy.

Richard Ford

2012 March 24th, Sat



Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.Haziness only visible on the horizon.Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian.

This galaxy's bright spiral arms are clearly seen edge on at 75*.This galaxy has an oval nucleus which is condensed as a soft faint smudge of light.This galaxy measures 8.2'* 1.6'with PA NNW/SSE.The nucleus of this galaxy grows brighter in the center compared to the spiral arms of this galaxy.

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