Messier Galaxies

M31 + M32 - 15Aug2001.jpg (129554 bytes) One five minute white light image of part of Messier 31, the "Andromeda" galaxy and one of its satellite galaxies, Messier 32. This image was taken on 14th August, 2001 at Terlingua Ranch in west Texas.   M31 is one of the nearest galaxies to us and is definitely the closest large galaxy, at only 2.5 million light years away.  It can be seen with the naked eye in moderately dark skies, and is huge, covering an area five times that of the full moon, although only the bright core can be seen without visual aids
M31 and M32 - 21 Dec 2001.jpg (90331 bytes) Messiers 31 and 32 in the constellation of Andromeda.  This image was also taken with the FSQ-106 operating at f/5.  The sheer size of M31 can be seen in these images, and to give an understanding of scale, the image shown here covers one degree.  Exposure used was 5 x 10 minute stacked luminance frames, and ten minutes each of red, green and blue
M33_140907_Web.jpg (125058 bytes) Messier 33 in Triangulum. This image, taken with the FSQ-106 at f/5, is an LRGB comprising 60 minutes of white light images and 30 minute 2x2 binned colors. Note the detail in the arms of the galaxy, the regions of star formation and the areas of nebulosity.  This galaxy is very large and although "bright" appears faint in a telescope.  It is impossible to find in a bright sky.  Full Resolution Image (1.04Mb)
M33_171014_Web.jpg (551667 bytes) M33 taken with the Planewave scope and QSI 683 camera on 17th October, 2014.  This is an LRGB of 60:40:40:40 minutes and clearly shows some of the interesting areas of nebulosity and the bright blue stars in the spiral arms.  It's a shame the whole galaxy won't fit on our CCD chip! Full Resolution Image (9.2Mb)Smaller High Res Image (2.2Mb)
M49_4June2002.jpg (40745 bytes) Messier 49

M51_110607_Web.jpg (103966 bytes) Messier 51 - The famous face-on spiral galaxy in Canes Venatici.  This galaxy is fun to image, and in darkest skies you can make out the spiral arms visually in the C-14 at about 250x.  This images was taken at our Spanish Observatory on 11th June 2007 and is an LRGB of 60:40:40:40 through the C14 scope and using the ST10-XME camera.  Full Resolution Image (1.0Mb)
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Messier 58
M59_21MAR2003.JPG (70479 bytes)
Messier 59
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Messier 60
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Messier 61
M63_150709_Web.jpg (187388 bytes) Messier 63 - the "Sunflower" galaxy. This galaxy gets it's name from the flocculant nature of the arms, clearly visible in the main image. This photo, taken in Spain on 15th July, 2009 is an LRGB of 60:20:20:20 minutes using the C14 scope at f/7 and the SBIG ST10-XME camera.  Full resolution image (3.5Mb)
M64_090613_Web.jpg (334984 bytes) Messier 64 - The famous "Blackeye Galaxy".  A close examination of this image shows that the black eye is in fact a wall of gas and dust surrounding the centre of this galaxy, which is located in Coma Berenices, just behind the tail of Leo, the Lion. This image, taken in Spain on 9th June, 2013 with the PlaneWave/ST-10XME combination is an LRGB of 60:40:40:40 minutes. Full Resolution Image (2.7Mb).
M65_210608_Web.jpg (133644 bytes) Messier 65 in Leo.  A member of the Leo Trio of galaxies, M65 is a beautiful standard spiral with a neat dust lane clearly seen in this image.  It is member of the Leo 1 sub-group of galaxies at distance of 31 million light years.  This is an LRGB of 50:30:30:30 minutes with the C14 and ST10-XME camera, taken in Spain on 21st June, 2008 under poor seeing conditions and in a moderate gale.  Full resolution image (2.1Mb)
M66_150215_Web.jpg (429984 bytes) Messier 66 - Another of the "trio", M66 is a barred spiral, and this image shows how one of the arms is distorted through interaction with NGC 3628, the third member of the group. The image was taken in Spain on 15th February, 2015 using the Planewave scope and QSI 683 camera and is an LRGB of 60:40:40:40 minutes. Full Resolution Image (10.6Mb). Smaller High Res Image (2.2Mb)
M74_111115_Web.jpg (410178 bytes) Messier 74 - Imaged in Spain on 11th November, 2015 using the PlaneWave telescope and QSI 683 camera. This magnificent face-on spiral in Pisces is so faint that for a long time it was classified as a globular cluster - only the rather brighter core being visible in smaller telescopes.  It is similar in structure to M33 but is more than fifteen times further away, at 40 million light years.  Full Resolution Image (11.2Mb). Smaller High Res Image (2.2Mb)
m77_271111_web.jpg (189021 bytes) Messier 77 - An interesting Messier, this active "Seyfert" galaxy was imaged as an LRGB of 50:40:40:40 mins in November 2011 in Spain.  Image processing has brought out detail in the core, the little spiral arms and also the larger fainter structures surrounding the main galaxy.  Full resolution image (2.6Mb) and Full Resolution Cropped Image (1.2Mb)
M81_Sharp_150216_Web.jpg (311201 bytes) Messier 81, a fine spiral galaxy located close to Messier 82 in Ursa Major.  It was discovered by Bode in 1774 and added to Messier's catalogue in 1781.  M81 is about 10 million light years away from us and it has a diameter of about 70,000 light years.  The image was taken in Spain on 15th February, 2015 using the Planewave scope and QSI 683 camera and is an LRGB of 60:40:40:40 minutes. Full Resolution Image (3.2Mb). Smaller High Res Image (1.0Mb)
M82_061213_Web.jpg (325686 bytes) Messier 82 - Located in the constellation of Ursa Major, this is a magnificent magnitude 8.4 galaxy, of an irregular and peculiar nature. The core is very irregular in profile and severed in two almost equal parts by a diagonal dark band.  This image of M82 was taken on 7th December, 2013 with the Planewave scope and QSI 683 camera.  It is an LRGB of 60:50:50:50 minutes.  Full resolution image (8.8Mb). Smaller High Res Image (1.8Mb)
M81-82_120609_Web.jpg (283114 bytes) M81 and M82, dual galaxies in the constellation of Ursa Major, are well known, but it is not generally known how close to each other in the sky they are.  This image, taken with our Takahashi FSQ telescope shows the relative sizes.  M82 is the smaller, peculiar galaxy to the left and M81 is the larger spiral galaxy to the right.  Both are about 15 million light years away from us.  This LRGB image is a combination of 40:30:30:40 minutes.  Full resolution image (1.8Mb)
M83_040508_Web.jpg (210749 bytes) Messier 83, a beautiful galaxy way down in the southern sky in the constellation of Hydra.  It was actually discovered by Lacaille at the Cape of Good Hope in 1752 and Messier added it to his catalogue in 1781.  This beautiful galaxy is 22 million light years distant and is part of the Centaurus Galaxy Group.  M83 has a diameter of about 100,000 light years.  Full resolution image (2.3Mb)
M85_21MAR2003.JPG (65079 bytes) Messier 85
M87_28MARCH2003.JPG (77648 bytes) Messier 87, a giant elliptical galaxy in Virgo is also a strong emitter of radio waves, known as Virgo A.  M87 is one the major members of the Coma-Virgo supercluster if galaxies and it lies at a distance from us of 65 million light years.  It is 135,000 light years in diameter
M88_280303.jpg (183708 bytes) Messier 88, is very close in the sky to the Virgo galaxies, but is in fact in Coma Berenices.  This galaxy was discovered by Messier in 1781and it is one of the giant spiral members of the Coma-Virgo supercluster, lying near the northern end of 3 degree long arc of galaxies, that begins in Virgo with the M84/M86 pairing.  This galaxy is in the region of 125,000 light years in diameter
M89_28MARCH2003.JPG (89294 bytes) Messier 89 was discovered by Messier in 1781, on the same night that he discovered Messiers 84, 85, 86, 87, 88 and 89.  It is a somewhat smaller galaxy than some of the rest, with a diameter of about 64,000 light years
M90_280303.jpg (233888 bytes) Messier 90, discovered in 1781 is a member of the Coma-Virgo supercluster.  In spite of this it does show a blue shift, which means it is moving towards us, rather than away, probably as a result of the rotation of the cluster
M91_280303.jpg (230504 bytes) Messier 91 is another of those Messier objects about which there is some dispute regarding its true identity.  Current thinking is that this object, NGC 4548 is the correct candidate, but there is even a suggestion that M91 might have been a comet
M95_281202_Web.jpg (76315 bytes) Messier 95 - Discovered by Mechain in 1781, M95 lies 31 million light years distant and is a member of the Leo I galaxy cloud. At magnitude 9.7this barred spiral galaxy forms an interesting Greek "Theta" letter and has a very bright core, as seen in the image. The theta shape can just be seen visually in our telescope using averted vision.  Full resolution image (1.2Mb)
M95 - 19 Dec 2001.jpg (46733 bytes) This image of M95 was taken with our Takahashi FSQ-106 at Terlingua Ranch, west Texas on 19th December, 2001.  It is a composite of 4 x 10 minutes luminance, and ten minutes each of the colors.  This wider field image also shows several faint galaxies, the brightest of which is CGCG 66-3 (magnitude 15.6) towards the right edge of the image
M96 - 24 Dec 2001.jpg (50176 bytes) Messier 96 lies very close to M95 in Leo and is in fact part of the same group of galaxies.  Discovered by Mechain in 1781, M96 is slightly smaller than M95 (62,000 light years in diameter) but also slightly more luminous, with a luminosity of 16 billion of our suns.  These two galaxies are so close together in the sky that it is a good indicator of where you are if you see them together.  You just have to sort out which is which!
M98 - 23 Dec 2001.jpg (59232 bytes) Messier 98 in Coma Berenices was discovered by Mechain in 1781. It is one of the brighter members of the Coma-Virgo galaxy cluster, 65-70 million light years distant, has a mottled, irregular appearance, and is one of the few galaxies with a blue shift, meaning it is moving towards us - at 243 Km per second.  Two other galaxies are visible in the image - UGC 7223 (Magnitude 15.6) to the upper right and NGC 4186 (magnitude 14.6) to the lower right
M99_100512_Web.jpg (195801 bytes) Messier 99 in Coma Berenices.  Part of the Virgo cluster of galaxies, M99 is 4.6 arc minutes in diameter and was discovered by Mechain in 1781.  It is about 70 million light years distant and has the largest recessional velocity of the cluster, at 2,380km per second.  Full Resolution Image (3.1Mb)
M100_211201_Web.jpg (47440 bytes) Messier 100, is a large spiral galaxy in the Coma-Virgo galaxy cluster.  We are looking at this galaxy face-on, and several  other galaxies are also visible:  NGC 4312 (magnitude 12.5) above and to the right, NGC 4322 (magnitude 14.0) which is the fainter and smaller galaxy to the left, NGC 4328 (magnitude 14.0) below the main galaxy and IC 783A (magnitude 15.2) at the top of the image.  65 million light years away, M100 is large.  It is 130,000 light years in diameter and was entered into Messier's catalogue in 1781.  Full resolution image (0.6Mb)
M101_200406_Web.jpg (200958 bytes) Messier 101 - the "Pinwheel" galaxy in Ursa Major.  An image taken at the La Divisa Observatory on 20th April 2006.  Image details are - 4 inch Takahashi FSQ-106 refractor at f/5.  SBIG ST-8XE CCD camera cooled to -15C.  Ten 5 minute luminance and ten 5 minute shots each in red, green and blue.  Stacked and processed in MaxIm DL and then further processed in Photoshop.  Full sized image (0.5Mb)
M102_110810_Web.jpg (35255 bytes) Messier 102, in the constellation of Draco.  This object is in some dispute, because there was no object at the location given by Messier and during modern times various people have "assigned" M102 to this galaxy, also known as NGC 5866.  It is a bright, edge on galaxy.  Full Resolution Image (1.2Mb)
M104_300414_Web.jpg (319183 bytes) Messier 104 - The "Sombrero" galaxy in Virgo.   M104 is 65 million light years distant, has a diameter of 135 million light years and is sixteen times brighter than our galaxy.  The numerous globular clusters associated with M104 can be seen in this image.  This image was taken at our Spanish observatory on 30th April, 2014.  It is an LRGB of 80:40:40:40 minutes, imaged using the QSI camera on the Planewave scope.  Full resolution image (8.2Mb). Smaller Full Res Image (1.6Mb)
M105 - 20 Dec 2001.jpg (49970 bytes) Messier 105, is a "spherical elliptical" - if that isn't a contradiction of terms!  It is the upper galaxy in this image, and M105 is fascinating because it has two nearby companions which are rather different, NGC 3384 - a smooth, lenticular to the lower left and NGC 3389 - a loosely wound spiral to the lower right.  This trio is part of the western half of the Leo I galaxy cloud, 31 million light years away
M106_19July2002.jpg (125547 bytes) Messier 106
M108 - 19 Dec 2001.jpg (41757 bytes) Messier 108 is one of many, many galaxies in the constellation of Ursa Major.  Discovered by Mechain in 1781 or 1782 (no-one seems to know quite when), this interesting galaxy is seen edge on.  In this image you can see the mottling and a mixture of bright and dark patches.  The galaxy appears to have a central bar, and it can be found near to the bright star Beta Ursa Majoris, not far from M97, the Owl Nebula
M109_120307_Web.jpg (108645 bytes) Messier 109 - Can be found in the constellation of Ursa Major, this barred spiral galaxy was viewed by Messier, but was not added to his famous catalogue until the 20th century.  M109 is 46 million light years distant, glowing at magnitude 9.8 and with a true luminosity of 19 billion of our suns
Full resolution image (1.4Mb)
M110_040107_Web.jpg (168512 bytes) Messier 110, one of the satellite galaxies of Messier 31, the great galaxy in Andromeda.  This galaxy is surrounded by globular clusters, several of which are visible in this LRGB image of 60:30:30:30 minutes taken with the C14 at f/7 using the ST8 camera.  The image was taken on 4th January, 2007.  Full resolution image (1.1Mb)

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