Alt. Designations: NGC 4303
Object Type: Spiral Galaxy
Constellation: Virgo
Distance: 52.5 mly
Right Ascension: 12h 21m 54.9s
Declination: +04° 28´ 22"
Visual Magnitude: 9.7
Apparent Dimension: 6.5´ x 5.9´
Best Month To View: Apr

Located in the constellation of Virgo, amidst the cluster of galaxies know as the Virgo cluster, is a spiral galaxy known as M61. This is one of the larger galaxies in the cluster, measuring in at about 100,000 light-years in diameter. It is estimated to be located some 60 million light-years from Earth. Messier originally mistook this object for a comet. This galaxy's low luminosity, about magnitude 9.7, makes it appear as nothing more than a fuzzy spot in small optic instruments. A large telescope and good sky conditions are needed to see any amount of detail.