M95 (NGC 3351) and M96 (NGC 3368)

M95 (NGC 3351) and M96 (NGC 3368) are two bright galaxies two binocular fields east of Regulus: binoculars.

M96 has an apparent magnitude of 10.1, making it the brightest galaxy of this group. M95 has an apparent magnitude of 11.4.

These two galaxies weren't actually found by Messier, but rather the French astronomer Pierre Méchain in 1781. Méchain was mostly responsible for finishing Messier's work.

The two galaxies are in the same field of view, 42' apart (M95 to the west). M95 has a bright centre and very faint circular spiral while M96 is more typical of spiral galaxies, seen nearly flat-on.

To the north of these two, and in the same field, is M105, one of the later additions to Messier's list. It has an apparent magnitude of 10.2 and has a supermassive black hole at its centre.

M105 is found with two neighbouring galaxies, making a triangular effect of galaxies which observers consider to be part of the M96 Group.

Now move two binocular fields northwest to gamma Leonis.

Click on gamma on the map to continue.

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