Observation by David Davies: Messier 85 and its faint structures

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David Davies


David Davies


2022 Mar 22 - 00:47


2022 Mar 31 - 09:52



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Coma Berenices

Field centre

RA: 12h25m
Dec: +18°11'
Position angle: -0°07'

Field size

0°27' × 0°20'

  • QSI 683
  • 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien
  • Skywatcher EQ8

25 x 5 min Luminance, 20 x 3 min RGB, binned 2 x 2


Cambridge, UK

Target name

Messier 85 and its neighbours


Messier 85 and its faint structures

About this image

Now is the season for observing the last few Messier objects on my list in the Virgo cluster. I anticipated that M85 would be a fairly ordinary elliptical galaxy. Not so. It has turned out to be a fascinating object with subtle structure and a faint, extended boundary which would classify it as a lenticular galaxy. M85 is a 10th magnitude galaxy that is interacting with the neighbouring galaxies, mag 12 NGC 4394 to the east (left) and mag 17 PGC040512 directly to the south. Studies have shown that M85 has a twin-core and a faint but complex structure of bands and ripples. These structures are thought to be due to a merger with another galaxy around 4 to 7 billion years ago. The image shows evidence of these faint structures. Also in the image is the mag 15 galaxy, IC 3292 to the west.

Further, alongside a tiny blue star to the northwest, and seen through the boundary of the galaxy, is a faint structure that might be the mag 19 Quasar J1225+182. This Quasar has a redshift of 1.19 and is estimated to be 8.5 billion light-years away. (This object might not be visible in this low-resolution jpg.)

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