This was a great pair to observe. M85 had a stellar core and was mildly elongated at a PA of about 25 degrees and appeared to be about 4 x 3 arc minutes in size. A star was embedded just northeast of its core. NGC 4394 was about 7 arc minutes to the east-northeast and also had a stellar core. Its circular profile was adorned with a bar positioned at a PA of 140 degrees. It appeared to be about 2.5 arc minutes in diameter.
A cursory look at the DSS image shows M85's outer profile to be aligned almost exactly north-south. However, examining this and other images further suggests that the brighter, inner portion of the galaxy is elongated to the northeast as I noticed in this observation.
Galaxy M85 is about 125,000 light years in diameter and 60 million light years away. Although originally classified as a lenticular S0 galaxy, deep exposures show indications of spiral structure. Apparently, the foreground star northeast of the core has repeatedly been mistaken for a supernova. M85 is paired with barred spiral NGC 4394 about 8 arc minutes to the east. Both galaxies are receding at 700 m/sec which suggests that they are physically paired.
M85 was discovered in 1781 by Pierre Méchain, and is also cataloged as UGC 7508, MCG+03-32-029, VCC 798, PGC 40515, h 1242, GC 2946, CGCG 099.045, KCPG 334A.
NGC 4394 was discovered by F.W. Herschel in 1784 and is also catalogued as UGC 7523, MCG+03-32-035, VCC 857, PGC 40614, H II-55, h 1251, GC 2957, CGCG 099.047, KCPG 334B, IRAS 12234+1829.
|Subject||M85 (NGC 4382) and NGC 4394|
|Classification||M85: Lenticular or Spiral Galaxy (Type SA(s)+P)|
NGC 4394: Spiral Galaxy (Type (R)SB(r)b II)
|Position*||M85: Coma Berenices [RA: 12:25:24.2 / Dec: +18:11:27]|
NGC 4394: [RA: 12:25:55.6 / Dec: 18:12:50]
|Size*||M85: 7.1' x 5.5'|
NGC 4394: 3.6' x 3.2'
|Brightness*||M85: 9.2 vMag; 10.1 bMag; 13.1 Surface Brightness|
NGC 4394: 10.9 vMag; 11.5 bMag; 13.4 Surface Brightness
|Date/Time||APR 26, 2009 - 10:20 PM (APR 27, 2009 - 05:20 UT)|
|Observing Loc.||Flagstaff, Arizona - Home|
|Instrument||Orion SkyQuest XT8 Dobsonian (203 mm dia./1200 mm F/L)|
|Eyepieces/Mag.||Pentax XW10 (120X)|
|Conditions||Clear, breezy, porch lights|
|Transparency||Mag 5.5 NELM|
|*Sources||SEDS; NGC/IC Project; DSS; Starry Night Pro Plus 5; Atlas of the Messier Objects - Ronald Stoyan|