January 26, 2005
M99 is a type Sc spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices. Its face-on orientation fully reveals its spiral arms, and this picture has been `flattened' to show arm structure both near the nucleus and into the outer regions of the galaxy (most representations either saturate the center or do not go deep enough to see the edges). M99 is a member of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies, which is the dominant cluster in our Local Supercluster and about 60 million light-years away. The Virgo cluster also includes Messier galaxies M49, M58, M59, M60, M61, M84, M85, M86, M87, M88, M89, M90, M91, M98, and M100. M99 was the second nebula to be recognized for its spiral structure, by Lord Rosse in 1848 (his first being M51 in 1845). This picture was taken in February 1996 at the KPNO 0.9-meter telescope.
Topics: Coma Berenices, Virgo Cluster, Coma Berenices constellation, Messier 99, Messier 61, Supercluster, Messier 89, Galaxy