AAO image reference AAT 58. « Previous || Next »
Top left is NE. Image width is about 8 arc min
Image and text © 1991-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.
The Virgo cluster spills over into the adjoining constellation of Coma Berenices and is the nearest moderately rich cluster of galaxies. It contains examples of almost every known kind of galaxy and two quite different types are represented here.
The dominant galaxy is the face-on spiral M100, one of the finest spirals in this diverse group. As might be expected in a galaxy-rich environment, the lack of perfect symmetry in its brightest spiral arms suggests that M100 has been disturbed by gravitational interaction with its neighbours. At the top of the image is the first colour picture of a much less spectacular galaxy, a so-called 'nucleated dwarf' elliptical galaxy, probably interacting with M100. Dwarf galaxies are by far the commonest kind in rich clusters such as this, but nucleated examples are quite rare. Many more can be seen on a deep image of this field.
AAT 59. Messier 100 and its dwarf companions
n4321_d NGC 4321 (M100), deep image
Constellation of Coma Berenices (external site)
For details of photographic exposure, search technical table by AAT reference number.
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