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NGC 4649

Proper NameNone
Messier NumberM60
NGC/IC NumberNGC 4649
Right Ascension12h 43m 40s
Declination+11° 33' 9"
Distancec.54,800,000 light years
c.16,800,000 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +9.8
Absolute: -21.3
DiameterApparent: 7.6'
Actual: c.120,000 light years
Hubble TypeE2 Elliptical
Optimum VisibilityApril
NotesThis member galaxy of the Virgo Cluster has a flattened elliptical shape (which leads some authorities to classify it as a lenticular rather than an elliptical galaxy). Its nucleus is home to a supermassive black hole, with a mass estimated at some 4.5 billion times than of the Sun (making it one of the most massive such bodies known).

The elliptical galaxy Messier 60 has a close companion, the intermediate spiral NGC 4647 to the immediate northwest. The two are physically close to one another, but not so close that there are obvious signs of interaction between the two galaxies (though there are tenuous indications that such a gravitational interaction is beginning to take place). Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas


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