Messier 89 and Messier 90 -- Galaxies in Virgo
M89 & M90 -- Two Different Looking Galaxies
The galaxies M89 and M90 appear about 1 degree from each other in the
Constellation Virgo.  The two are very different looking through my 6.1-inch refractor.  I
have often been told that smaller telescopes under suburban skies only show galaxies
as dim uniform smudges, if at all. That simply is not true.  Of course, larger amateur
scopes under darker rural skies will show more detail, but details are visible in a fair
number of the brighter galaxies under suburban skies with modest-sized telescopes, if
only one takes the time to look carefully.  M89 and M90 are good examples to
compare differences.  To me the Elliptical Galaxy M89 is round with a bright-center
with little additional detail, but the Spiral Galaxy M90 is elongated with a bright-center,
plus flecks of light that make it sparkle ever so slightly.  It is mind-boggling that one can
see visual detail in these islands-of-stars that are tens-of-millions of light years distant.  
What magnificent structures they are whether viewed from dark-skies with large
telescopes or glimpsed from light-polluted backyards with smaller telescopes.