Messier 60 (also known as NGC 4649) is an elliptical galaxy approximately 55 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo.
Messier 60 and the nearby galaxy Messier 59
were both discovered by Johann Gottfried Koehler
in April 1779
during observations of a comet
in the same part of the sky. Charles Messier
listed both in the Messier Catalogue
about three days after Koehler's discovery.
NGC 4647 appears approximately 2′.5 away from Messier 60; the optical disks of the two galaxies overlap. Although this overlap suggests that the galaxies are interacting, photographic images of the two galaxies do not reveal any evidence for gravitational interactions between the two galaxies as would be suggested if the two galaxies were physically close to each other. This suggests that the galaxies are at different distances and are only weakly interacting if at all.
Virgo Cluster membership
M60 is the third brightest giant elliptical galaxies of the Virgo cluster of galaxies
, and is the dominant member of a subcluster of 4 galaxies, which is the closest known isolated compact group of galaxies.
) was observed in Messier 60.
At the center of M60 is a black hole
of 3.4 billion solar masses, one of the largest ever found.