Messier 85 and NGC4394

Messier 85 (NGC4382) is a quite bright and easy target both for visual and photographic observations. It can be spotted with binoculars, and is an easy catch for larger telescopes. But if you expect this galaxy to be an attractive object, you may be heavily disappointed. It is boring, lenticular (or elliptical according to some others) galaxy in the Coma Berenices constellation. But it still belongs to Virgo Cluster of galaxies. Fortunately there is NGC4394 barred spiral galaxy next to it, and this pair is then more pleasant view.

M85 is located about 60 million light years away, and its diameter is 125,000 light years. It has quite complex outer structure with shells and ripples that are thought to have been caused by a merger with another galaxy that took place between 4 and 7 billion years ago. NGC4394 lies about 8 arc minutes away from M85 and it is a presumed companion to this galaxy. If you take a closer look into bottom part of M85, you will spot there another small fuzzball. This is MCG 3-32-38 elliptical galaxy, that also interacts with M85.

M85 and NGC4934 galaxies
M85 and NGC4934 galaxies

I already captured some luminance data of this target last year, and you will find this image in the related posts below. This time I spend two warm nights in April to collect 360 additional minutes of exposures made with LRGB filters. Elliptical galaxies are not attractive in the images, because they apparently lack any features. But M85 is not a perfect elliptical blob. It actually is little bit asymmetric and also contains some features, however not well defined. They appear more like elusive gradient changes. You can see it at the color image, but also at the contour pseudo color picture below.

M85 and NGC4934 galaxies - contour plot
M85 and NGC4934 galaxies – contour plot
Image technical data:

Date: April 2019, 15 April 2020
Location: Nieborowice, Poland
Telescope: Meade ACF 10"
Corrector: AP CCDT67
Camera: QHY163M, gain 100
Mount: SW EQ6
Guiding: Evostar 72 + ASI290MM
Exposure: LRGB 300x2 minutes
Conditions: seeing medium-good, transparency good, Moon present

Clear skies!

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