CCD photograph of M90 by Greg Bothun; from his Messier Object Images collection.
M90 will be a dissappointing target for amateurs as its overall surface brightness is somewhat low. There is strong spiral structure as outlined by the clearly visible dust lanes in this blue exposure. M90 has an active nucleus. It is noteworthy in that M90 has a blueshift with respect to the Milky Way, even though it is located at a distance of 40 Million light years from us. This is because M90 is a member of the Virgo Cluster and its random velocity due to the gravitational potential well of Virgo is larger than its relative expansion velocity with respect to the Milky Way. That random component is accidentally pointed in our direction such that M90 has a velocity of about -250 km/s.
Last Modification: March 5, 2001