Galaxy M61 in Virgo is similar in size to the Milky Way, with a diameter of 100,000 light years. Like the Milky Way, it appears midway between a barred and
normal spiral, and its arms are somewhat open, givng rise to a classification of SABbc. It is among the most active galaxies, with 6 supernova observed since
1926. This ties the record of M83 for Messier galaxies, but remailns short of the record 9 supernova observed in NGC 6946. These supernova act as
"starndard candles" that allow a reliable calculated distance of 60 million light years. The smaller barred spiral galaxy NGC 4301 in the lower left of the image
(type SBc) also hosted a supernova in 1979.
This image combined 80 minutes clear luminance unbinned with 60 minutes of red, 40 minutes green and 55 minutes of blue exposures, binned 2 x 2. An
ST10XME camera was used through a 12" Meade LX200R telescope at the Hidden Lake Observatory.
Music: You're my best friend, Queen