Messier 98

Messier 98 is nice, almost edge-on (74 degrees inclination) galaxy located about 44 million light years away. It is a member of Virgo Cluster, but belongs to constellation Coma Berenices. Messier 98 is about 1.3 million light years away from the M99 galaxy, and about 750 million years ago they may have interacted with each other. M98 is one of the faintest Messier catalog objects. It is one of the most difficult Messier objects to observe due to low surface brightness.

Messier 98 morphological type is described as SAB(s)ab. That sophisticated string indicates it is a spiral galaxy which displays mixed barred and non-barred features with tight arms and no ring. The rotation velocity of M98 is 236 km/s and it is approaching us at 142 km/s. Charles Messier determined the position of this galaxy and added it to his catalog on April 13, 1781, after completing the third edition. He wrote then:

Nebula without star, of an extremely faint light, above the northern wing of Virgo, on the parallel & near to the star no. 6, fifth magnitude, of Coma Berenices, according to Flamsteed. M. M├ęchain saw it on Mar 15, 1781.

M98 spiral galaxy
M98 spiral galaxy

Due to large inclination capturing any detail in M98 arms requires good seeing. And due to low surface brightness it also requires good transparency. I waited quite a long time for such conditions, because in the M98 neighborhood there is a lot of faint fuzzies. And good transparency occurred, but seeing was not so exciting. So the final image reaches quite deep and many background galaxies can be found. But at the same time the detail level in Messier 98 is not breathtaking. Distant galaxies are better visible in the inverted mono image below.

M98 spiral galaxy mono inverted
M98 spiral galaxy mono inverted

Clear skies!

Image technical data:

Date: 19-22 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 325x2 minutes
Conditions: seeing medium, transparency good

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