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[M 59]

Messier 59

Observations and Descriptions

Discovered on April 11, 1779 by Johann Gottfried Koehler.
Discovered independently on April 15, 1779 by Charles Messier.

Messier: M59.
April 15, 1779. 59. 12h 30m 47s (187d 41' 38") +12d 52' 36"
"Nebula in Virgo & in the neighborhood of the preceding [M58], on the parallel of epsilon [Virginis], which has served for its [position] determinaion: it is of the same light as the above, equally faint. M. Messier reported it on the Chart of the Comet of 1779."

April 11 and 13, 1779 [with M60]
"Two very small nebulae, hardly visible in a 3-foot telescope: The one above the other."

[Bode's announce of Koehler's discovery] "On the occasion of tracking the comet of this year [1779], on April 11 and 13, Mr. Köhler has discovered another two very small [faint] nebulae barely visible in the 3-ft Dollond telescope northwest in a triangle with Rho and the 34th star of Virgo, situated closely the one above the other, and on May 5, again three other somewhat nebulous stars in the area of the northern shoulder of Virgo, at quite a distance of each other."

William Herschel
[Unpublished Observations of Messier's Nebulae and Clusters. Scientific Papers, Vol. 2, p. 658]
1784, April 17 (Sw. 199). pB. R., not S., mbM. [pretty bright, round, not small, much brighter to the middle].

John Herschel (1833): h 1386.
h 1386 = M59.
Sweep 19 (March 10, 1826)
RA 12h 33m 23.0s::, NPD 77d 25' 28" (1830.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
B; irreg R; r
Bright; irregularly round; mottled.

Sweep 2 (April 10, 1825)
RA 12h 33m 27.0s +/-, NPD 77d 22' +/- (1830.0)
F; R; g b M; 20"; has a * n p and one s p. Place very rudely ascertained.
Faint; round; gradually brighter toward the middle; 20" [diameter]; has a star north preceding [to the NW] and one south ppreceding [to the SW]. Place [position] very rudely ascertained.

Sweep 338 (April 4, 1831)
RA 12h 33m 28.4s, NPD 77d 24' 53" (1830.0)
v B; S; l E; v s v m b M; 2'l, 1 1/2' br
Very bright; small; little extended [elongated]; very suddenly very much brighter toward the middle; 2' long, 1 1/2' broad.

[from the description of M60]
[with a drawing of M59 and M60]
[..] A fine field is exhibited under the eye-piece, which magnifies 93 times, just as this object [M60 with NGC 4647] enters, because the bright little nebula 59 M. is quitting the np [north preceding, NW] verge, and another small one is seen in the upper part, H. 1402 [NGC 4638]: in fact, four nebulae at once. [..]

John Herschel, General Catalogue: GC 3155.
GC 3155 = h 1386 = M59.
RA 12h 34m 56.9s, NPD 77d 34' 1.1" (1860.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
B; pL; lE; vsvmbM; 2 st p. 5 observations by W. & J. Herschel.
Bright; pretty large; little extended; very suddenly very much brighter toward the middle; 2 stars preceding [westward].

[Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. XXXVI (36)]
[Drawing on Plate V, Fig. 23]

Dreyer (1877)
GC 3155, h. 1386 [M 59]. Drawings in Lassell, Plate V, Fig. 23.

Dreyer: NGC 4621.
NGC 4621 = GC 3155 = h 1386; M 59.
RA 12h 34m 58s, NPD 77d 35.1' (1860.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
B, pL, lE, vsvmbM, 2 st p; = M59
Bright, pretty large, little extended, very suddenly very much brighter toward the middle, 2 stars preceding [westward].
Remark: Figure in Lass 2 [Lassell, Memoirs R.A.S. vol. xxxvi], plate V, fig. 23.
  • Observing Reports for M59 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: March 30, 2005