NGC 5560 & NGC 5566 -- Spiral Galaxies in Virgo
The Largest Galaxy in Virgo
At 150,000 light years across, the Barred Spiral Galaxy, NGC 5566, is considered the largest
galaxy in the constellation Virgo. Not the brightest or the most massive, it is still the biggest.
As with most galaxies, its size is underrepresented in my drawings since I cannot begin to see
the dimmer outer sections of the galaxy disk with a 155mm telescope under suburban skies.
NGC 5566 has a condensed core with a star-like nucleus and is not a difficult target for small to
medium-sized amateur telescopes.
Once the moon had set, I upped the power on the telescope and focused on seeing the
brightest of two galaxies residing near it. Only one of the two is theoretically possible in my
telescope (magnitude 12.4) and it normally would not be doable in my telescope from the
house. However, tonight the skies were excellent, and NGC 5560 could be seen with difficulty
at 232x next to NGC 5566. It is also a Spiral Galaxy. Its tiny core was a smudge-of-light that
was ghostly and would slip in-and-out of existence. It took me a few minutes of serious
eye-stain to determine that it was truly there.