Messier Monday: Virgo’s Final Galaxy, M100 (Synopsis)

“From a little spark may burst a flame.” -Dante Alighieri

It's hard to believe that less than two years ago, we hadn't even begun Messier Monday, and now there are fewer than 20 objects left! Today represents a great milestone, as we finally take on the last of fifteen galaxies that Messier catalogued as part of the Virgo Cluster!

Image credit: Mike Hankey, via; annotation & magnification by me. Image credit: Mike Hankey, via; annotation & magnification by me.

Even though Messier couldn't see the details that modest amateurs can see today, his (and Méchain's) discovery-and-cataloguing of this object was the beginning of a remarkable journey, something that saw -- along its way -- five supernovae and perhaps the photo that heralded the greatest era of space telescopes: when the error with the Hubble Space Telescope's original primary mirror was fixed!

Images credit: NASA / JPL / Goddard Space Flight Center. Images credit: NASA / JPL / Goddard Space Flight Center.

Come read -- and see in pictures -- the full glorious story of this object!


More like this

"Yes, indeed, if humankind — from humble farmers in the fields and toiling workers in the cities to teachers, people of independent means, those who have reached the pinnacle of fame or fortune, even the most frivolous of society women — if they knew what profound inner pleasure await those who…
"I should like to lie at your feet and die in your arms." -Voltaire Every object that we look at for Messier Monday has its own flavor, its own qualities, and its own unique characteristics. By far the most numerous of the 110 deep-sky objects making up the Messier catalogue are the galaxies, of…
"The proverb warns that 'You should not bite the hand that feeds you.' But maybe you should, if it prevents you from feeding yourself." -Thomas Szasz But on this Messier Monday, you're lucky enough that you're about to be introduced to one of the great northern galaxies of the Messier catalogue…
"Most writers spend their lives standing a little apart from the crowd, watching and listening and hoping to catch that tiny hint of despair, that sliver of malice, that makes them think, 'Aha, here is the story.'" -Ayelet Waldman Welcome back again to another Messier Monday, where we're all set to…

Thankyou Ethan, and Judy Schmidt for the excellent render.