M 49, at magnitude 8.5, is one of the brighter elliptical galaxies of the Virgo Cluster and was the first member of this group to be found. Like M87, this object is a giant, being about 160,000 light years across at its widest and like M87, it also is host to a system of globular clusters, although the quantity of those satellites here appears to be less numerous, perhaps something more than 6,000. Long exposure images reveal a number of small, faint companions near this galaxy. A 13th magnitude foreground star near the edge of M49 (not visible in my photo here) is easily mistaken for a supernova but only one real one has been seen here, in June, 1969. M49 is the second galaxy discovered which actually lies beyond the Local Group, M83 being the first. The faint near-vertical track just right of the galaxy in my image was likely an aircraft.

Taken March 20, 2012, with the C-14 operating at F:3.5 and the ST-8 camera binned 2 X 2. Exposure was 2 minutes.