Spring is the season for galaxies and three reach their best visibility for the year tonight. The brightest is M61, a face-on spiral galaxy some 52 million light years away in the constellation Virgo. Discovered by Barnabus Oriani in 1779, it may be found with good binoculars under clear, dark skies but otherwise you’ll need a telescope to see it.
(Click on an image to enlarge.)
The double star M40 culminates at midnight tonight. (Ursa Major, all night.)
The barred spiral galaxy M61 culminates at midnight tonight. (Magnitude 10.2. Virgo, all night. See above.)
The spiral galaxy M99 culminates at midnight tonight. (Magnitude 10.4. Coma Berenices, all night.)
The spiral galaxy M106 culminates at midnight tonight. (Magnitude 9.1. Canes Venatici, all night.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are easily visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
Learn more about every upcoming astronomical event in 2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle eBook) and The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) (Kindle eBook) and The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) (Paperback Edition).
The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook allows astronomers to log 150 observing sessions and includes an appendix of hundreds of suggested deep sky objects.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at” gmail.com