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NGC 4649 (10,142 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Messier 60

NGC 4649, LEDA 42831, MCG+02-33-002, UGC 7898, VV 206, VV 206a, Messier 60, h 1408, GC 3182

RA: 12h 43m 40.19s
Dec: +11° 33′ 8.9″

Con: Virgo
Ch: MSA:724, U2:194, SA:14


(reference key)

Type: galaxy (in pair), S0

Mag: B=10.3, V=?

Size: 6.606′ x 5.754′
PA: 105°

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

NGC 4649 = M 60. See NGC 4637.

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

In the Appendix to the 1912 'Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel' this object is described as "1784, March 15. Two nebulae, one of them very bright. 1784, April 17. Two nebulae, the preceding vF, S (III.44), the following which is the 60th of the Conn.des temps, B, cL."

Published comments

Arp (1966)

Together with NGC 4647 listed as No. 116 in Arp's "Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies" (Astrophysical Journal Supplement, vol. 14, 1966.) He remarks "Absorption heavier on spiral side away from eastern galaxy."

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

(Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 10.5 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads BE,R,BM,CONTW/47.

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.

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.

Modern observations

Tom Lorenzin

Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "10M; 3.5' x 2.5' extent; bright oblong with brighter center but no stellar nucleus; SP GAL N4647 (12M; 2' diameter) 3' to NW; EL GAL N4638 (12.2M; 1.4' x 0.6' extent) 15' to WSW; EL GAL N4660 (12.3M; 1.6' x 0.8' extent) 27' to SSE looks like 13M star with haze; !good supernova prospects!."

Danie L. Cronje


Cronje, observing with 10x50 binoculars, notes "might have glimpsed once."

Contemporary observations

Richard Ford

2011 April, 30th, Saturday


Instrument:12-inch 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.



Object Type:Galaxy.

First Impression:This object looks like an elliptical galaxy.



Chart Number:No.173(Extract taken out of "Star Gazer's Deep Space Atlas").

Size:26mm Super Wide Field Eyepiece:Field Of View:57'/10=5.7'.

20mm Ultra Wide Angle Eyepiece:Field Of View:50'/9=5.5'.

5.7'+ 5.5'=11.2'.


Size in Arc Minutes:5.6'.


Major Axis:5.6'.


Minor Axis:1.8'.

Galaxy is 5.6'* 1.8'.

Brightness:Magnitude 8.8.

Brightness Profile:Towards the central nucleus of this galaxy it grows brighter.

Challenge Rating:Difficult.



This galaxy has a stange round shape.It is a fairly bright moderate large object.The galactic nucleus of this galaxy is equally bright.Around this galaxy I have found some areas of uneven brightness.

Tom Bryant

2008-05-04 22:30:00

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-8

[12h 43m 42s, 11 33m 0s] AKAM 60. A bright elliptical, with fainter NGC 4647 just 3 arc minutes or so away to the north west. I suspect that the two are interacting, but photos do not show any significant distortion of the outer envelopes. A chance line up? Hard to tell. I saw both galaxies as spirals, but only NGC 4647 is. Burnham lists it as an Sc.

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