M59, M60, NGC 4638, NGC 4647 and NGC 4660 Galaxies in Virgo
Five of Two-Thousand
The Virgo Cluster of Galaxies is estimated to contain upwards of 2,000
galaxies. The cluster is centered in the constellation Virgo which is just
beginning to be observable in the early morning hours by mid-January.
Hunting galaxies is best done under dark skies and with the much larger 18”
Dobsonian telescope. But even from my suburban home and the 6.1”
refractor, the brightest members of the Virgo Cluster become welcome
guests. This morning the skies over my house were transparent enough for
me to enter the realm of the galaxies for the first time this year. A short star-
hop from the bright star Vindemiatrix (the vine grower) and five galaxies
were visible in the same 1.5-degree eyepiece field. I plan on visiting the
Virgo Cluster many times this year. I like the experience of letting my eyes
take in the soft glow from hundreds-of-billions of nameless distant suns.