During the first few minutes of my observation, M88 appeared to be simply an elongated galaxy with a strongly condensed core aligned at about 135 degrees. After much time glued to the eyepiece, the northwest and southern edges took a slightly brighter appearance. A short north-south axis appeared between these brighter regions, suggesting a clockwise spiral form. A star marked the southeastern tip and a bold double star anchored the view about 6 arc minutes to the south.
M88 lies about 60 million light years distant, is estimated to be 130,000 light years in diameter and is receding at 2000 km/second. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1781, and is also cataloged as NGC 4501, UGC 7675, MCG+03-32-059, h 1312, GC 3049, CGCG 099.076, VCC 1401, PGC 41517.
|Subject||M88 (NGC 4501)|
|Classification||Spiral Galaxy (Sb/Sc I)|
|Position*||Coma Berenices [RA: 12:31:59.1 / Dec: +14:25:15]|
|Size*||6.9′ x 3.7′ – PA: 140°|
|Brightness*||9.7 vMag; 10.3 bMag; 13.1 Surface Brightness|
|Date/Time||APR 27, 2009 – 12:15 AM (APR 27, 2009 – 07:15 UT)|
|Observing Loc.||Flagstaff, Arizona – Home|
|Instrument||Orion SkyQuest XT8 Dobsonian (203 mm dia./1200 mm F/L)|
|Eyepieces/Mag.||Pentax XW10 (120X)|
|Conditions||Clear, calm, porch lights|
|Transparency||Mag 5.8 NELM|
|*Sources||SEDS; NGC/IC Project; DSS; Starry Night Pro Plus 5; Atlas of the Messier Objects – Ronald Stoyan|