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Pinwheel Galaxy

Pinwheel Galaxy

Messier 99 (M99), also known as the Coma Pinwheel or Virgo Cluster Pinwheel, is an unbarred spiral galaxy in Coma Berenices. The galaxy is a member of the Virgo Cluster

The Coma Pinwheel occupies an area of 5.4 by 4.7 arc minutes of apparent sky, which corresponds to a linear diameter of 85,000 light years. It is one of the brighter spiral galaxies in the Virgo Cluster and appears almost face-on, which makes it a popular target for both professional and amateur astronomers.

The galaxy can be seen in small telescopes, but only appears as a dim ball of light with a brighter centre. 8-inch telescopes reveal a hazy patch of light with a more clearly defined centre. 10-inch telescopes begin to hint at the spiral structure under good conditions, and larger instruments reveal the galaxy’s dust bands and other details.

Messier 99 can be found 7 degrees east of the bright star Denebola in Leo or just under a degree southeast of the magnitude 5.1 star 6 Comae Berenices, which lies 0.5 degrees east of the edge-on spiral galaxy Messier 98. The best time of year to observe M99 and other galaxies in the Virgo Cluster is during the spring.

Timeline

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

M101 - Supernova and Pinwheel Galaxy - Deep Sky Videos

Web

June 7, 2012

Messier 99: Coma Pinwheel - Messier Objects

Web

August 28, 2015

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