M61, A Somewhat Angular Galaxy (Astronomy)

The splendid galaxy Messier 61 or M61 for short is just one of the astronomical objects and phenomena that will characterize the evening sky this month

Heading towards the constellation Virgo, which can be spotted southwards in the May evening skies, lies the stunning spiral galaxy Mesiser 61 or M61 for short. Also known as Ngc 4303, this celestial object is difficult to observe even with a decent telescope. Its beauty can only appear from the most powerful observations of telescopes operating today, as in the image on the side, taken by the ESO Very large telescope, which scans the sky from the top of the Chilean mountains. M61, about 50 million light years away, appears almost perfectly in front of us, showing its imposing arms, some of which have sharp folds, almost edges. M61, which has a diameter of about 100,000 light years, similar in size to our galaxy, shows a high rate of star formation and hosts an active supermassive black hole in its central regions. Messier 61 is one of the largest galaxies that are part of the Virgo cluster, consisting of more than a thousand galaxies.

But beyond M61, the May sky has beautiful constellations, planets, and astronomical events scheduled. If you are curious to know more, watch the video that, like every month, we have prepared for you:

Featured image: The galaxy Messier 61 or M61 in short taken by the Very large telescope (Vlt) ESO, in Chile. © INAF

Provided by INAF

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