(IAAC) Object: M87 - Instrument: 7x50 binos

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1997-2-10/11, 09:30 UT
Location: Medford, MA, USA (42N)
Site classification: urban
Limiting magnitude: 5.3 (zenith)
Seeing: 3 - medium
Moon up: no
Instrument: 50mm binos
Magnification: 7x
Filters used: None
Object: M87
Category: Elliptical galaxy
Constellation: Vir
Data: mag 8.6   size 7'x7'
RA/Dec: 12h31m   12o24'
Found by following the string of bright stars Gamma, Delta,
and Epsilon Virginis, then hopping W from Epsilon to the
pretty little quadrilateral grouping of stars designated as
Rho Vir, then NW almost within the same binocular view to a
very faint rhombus of mag 7-8 stars slanted NE. M87 could
JUST be glimpsed with averted vision, a steady hand on the
binoculars, and short fixations, N of the northernmost star
in the rhombus. Very faint and pretty small. However, rather
than appearing round, M87 seemed slightly elongated E-W! A
short search for images of M87 on the Web actually turned up
one or two less-exposed photos seeming to confirm this. This
may be due to a slight brightening on the E or W end of the
core of this E1 (almost round) galaxy. So this mere binocular
observation will lead me to look more closely at M87 the next
time I observe it in a bigger scope!