|Designation|| Messier 102|
|Right ascension||15h 06m 29.5s|
|Declination||+55° 45′ 48″|
|Type of object||Lenticular galaxy|
|Dimensions||4.7 x 1.9'|
|Magnitude|| Apparent Mag: +10.7|
|Distance from Earth||50 million light years|
|Radial velocity||672 km/s|
It is likely that it was discovered by Charles Messier or Pierre Méchain in 1781, but was also discovered independently by William Herschel in 1788. There remains a controversy as to whether the Spindle galaxy is in fact a duplication of M101 found in Ursa Major as Messier did not include a position when he added it to his catalogue.
To add to this, there is also another galaxy in the Serpens constellation that is sometimes referred to as the "Spindle galaxy".
Environment and Structure
Unusually for a lenticular galaxy, Messier 102 contains a large dust lane spread out across the width of the galaxy. Some believe that the dust has a ring shape, but this is impossible to tell as the galaxy is viewed edge on. Although classified as lenticular, M102 may in fact be a spiral galaxy and have been misclassified due to its edge on view. The extent of the dust would be common for a spiral galaxy. It is believed star formation is going on inside this dust.