M96 = NGC3368 ( 10h 46.8m +1149, 9.2 mag. )


This spiral galaxy in Leo was discovered by Mechain in March 1781 and Messier observed it on March 24 of the same year. M96 is about 26.5 million ly distant and belongs to Leo Galaxy Group together with nearby M95, M105, their NGC companions, as well as M65, M66 and NGC3628. In addition to spiral arms around nucleus, it also contains faint outer region. M96 is located 125' NNW of 53 Leonis (see finder chart below).

The above image was taken on December 20, 1998 and April 14, 1999 from Sooke, BC. Cookbook 245 LDC CCD camera was used on Ultima 8 f6.3 telescope autoguided with Cookbook 211 LDC CCD camera on piggybacked 500mm f8 telephoto lens. This image is composed of white integrations (8 x 240 sec.) as well as cyan, magenta and yellow-filtered exposures (5 x 240 sec., 4 x 240 sec. and 4 x 240 sec., respectively) combined with AIP4WIN. The color image was then adjusted in Lab color space using Corel PhotoPaint 8.

North is to the right.


The image below shows the appearance of a bright supernova (SN1998BU) in one of M96 HII regions in the spring of 1998. It was imaged on May 25, 1998 from Sooke, BC with Cookbook 245 LDC CCD camera on Ultima 8 f6.3 telescope (autoguided with Cookbook 211 LDC CCD camera on piggybacked 500mm f8 telephoto lens). It is composed of six white integrations W (240 sec. each) combined with AIP4WIN.


Map created in Guide 7.0 - 745' x 745'. North is up.


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Jan Wisniewski