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NGC 4303 (Spiral Galaxy, M61)


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NGC 4303, M61
Spiral Galaxy (渦巻銀河)
Gx SBbc


別名 (Other names)
PGC 40001, UGC 7420, MCG 1-32-22, Messier 61

明るさ (Brightness)
9.3等級

星座 (Constellation)
おとめ座 (Vir) (Virgo)

距離 (Distance)
5,500万光年 (55 million light-years)

NGC 4303 (M61) is a spiral galaxy located 55 million light years from the Earth in the constellation Virgo.

NGC 4303 (Spiral Galaxy, M61) : Picture

Messier 61
Messier 61
(C) NASA/ESA/Hubble
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured this image of nearby spiral galaxy Messier 61, also known as NGC 4303. The galaxy, located only 55 million light-years away from Earth, is roughly the size of the Milky Way, with a diameter of around 100,000 light-years. The galaxy is notable for one particular reason — six supernovae have been observed within Messier 61, a total that places it in the top handful of galaxies alongside Messier 83, also with six, and NGC 6946, with a grand total of nine observed supernovae.

In this Hubble image the galaxy is seen face-on as if posing for a photograph, allowing us to study its structure closely. The spiral arms can be seen in stunning detail, swirling inwards to the very centre of the galaxy, where they form a smaller, intensely bright spiral. In the outer regions, these vast arms are sprinkled with bright blue regions where new stars are being formed from hot, dense clouds of gas.

Messier 61 is part of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, a massive group of galaxies in the constellation of Virgo. Galaxy clusters, or groups of galaxies, are among the biggest structures in the Universe to be held together by gravity alone. The Virgo Cluster contains more than 1300 galaxies and forms the central region of the Local Supercluster, an even bigger gathering of galaxies.

Messier 61
Messier 61
(C) NASA/ESA/Hubble

M61
M61
(C) Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
M61 is one of the major members of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. It is comparable in size to our own galaxy. Though a barred spiral, deep images such as this make the bar in the nucleus of the galaxy less obvious. This galaxy has an extraordinary number of star forming regions (HII, pink areas). An image with greater resolution would certainly show even more evidence of active star formation. At distance of 60 million light years away M61 seems to float in the foreground of several distant galaxies.

NGC 4303
MOS observation of spiral galaxy NGC 4303
(C) ESO
The very efficient multi-object-slit observing technique with the multi-mode instrument FORS1 is demonstrated on the Virgo cluster galaxy NGC 4303. Nineteen moveable slits at the instrument focal plane are positioned so that the faint light from several H II regions in this galaxy can pass into the spectrograph, while the much stronger "background" light (from the nearby areas in the galaxy and, to a large extent, from the Earth''s upper atmosphere) is blocked by the mask.

Messier 61 Messier 61
Messier 61
(C) NASA
Messier 61
(C) NASA
M61 M61
M61
(C) NOAO
Infrared image of M61
(C) NASA
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NGC 4303 (Spiral Galaxy, M61) : Movie

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