Messier Objects

M98: Spiral Galaxy (Coma Berenices) RA: 12h 13.8m / DEC: +14° 54'.0
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder

M98 is a 10.2 magnitude spiral galaxy in Coma Berenices and a likely first stop on your tour of the Virgo/Coma galaxy cluster. It is one of 14 galaxies in the Messier catalog gathered in this area of sky. Add to these the Messier galaxies in Leo, Canes Venatici, Hydra and Ursa Major, and you've got 34 galaxies visible in the spring constellations. All can be seen in a 3-inch telescope under dark skies.

I use a T-shaped asterism just east of Denebola as the starting point for my hops through the Virgo cluster. Denebola is the 2.1 magnitude star marking the tail of the lion. The T-asterism of five 5th and 6th magnitude stars is 7.3 degrees due east. M98 resides half-a-degree west of 6 Comae Berenices, the western star in the T-asterism. 5.0 magnitude 6 Com is pictured in the sketch at left, just inside the eastern field boundary. At 82X in the 10-inch, M98 presents as a nebulous patch elongated NW to SE over a 7'x2' area. NGC 4186, 11' southeast of M98, is a 12.5 magnitude spiral galaxy. M98 has a modest surface brightness of 22.5 magnitudes per square arc second.

Click on the button to see a map of the Virgo cluster.

Virgo Cluster

M97-Owl Nebula M99


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Revised: February 15, 2002 [WDF]