Here’s Messier in your eye.

Hubble Space Telescope has captured a new image of nearby spiral galaxy Messier 61 (M61), AKA NGC 4303.

M61 is only 55 million light-years away from Earth, it is about the size of our Milky Way galaxy (depending on whom you ask), and is about a 100,000 light-years.

M61 is an active galaxy with six supernovae observed within the last 100 years or so.

Hubble took this image as M61 was face-on. The spiral arms are very detailed.  The outer arms, seen in blue, are stellar nurseries where stars are being formed.

Messier 61 is part of the Virgo (just like me!) Galaxy Cluster, a massive group of galaxies in the constellation of Virgo (the Virgin – not so much like me in many respects).

Galaxy clusters (groups of galaxies) are some of the biggest structures in the Universe. The Virgo Cluster has over 1300 (and up to 2000) galaxies.

The Virgo Cluster also forms the central region of a Local Supercluster.  As the name suggests, it is an even bigger grouping of galaxies.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +


Messier Marathon – The Results

Well, once again Mother Nature has thwarted another attempt by me to complete a full photographic marathon.  Actually, this time she had help.  I had started to test my equipment on Thursday night and everything was working so well that I actually had 50 Messier objects photographed by midnight.  However, I had an important client teleconference in the morning, so I decided that work needed to get done (solely to support my telescope habit) and stopped.  Looking back now, I should have stayed up all night, done the marathon and teleconference, then slept the rest of the day.  Alas, the clouds came rolling in and wiped out the seeing for the weekend.  I will try again next year.  I will process some of my images that I did manage to take and post them in the next few days.  The featured image was taken by Daniel Perry an RAS member.  You can check out more of his outstanding photos at

– Ex astris, scientia –