Found in the constellation Leo, M95 is a beautiful barred spiral galaxy. It was discovered in 1781 by Pierre Méchain, a colleague of Charles Messier.
This Hubble observation reveals a section of M95 featuring its central bar of stars in the upper left and one of its spiral arms extending to the lower right. The observations were taken in near-infrared, visible and ultraviolet wavelengths of light with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3. Hubble took these observations of M95 to better understand star formation in nearby galaxies.
M95 is located approximately 33 million light-years away and has a magnitude of 9.7. It has around 40 billion stars. Its spiral arms host a flurry of star birth activity and sparkle with the light of countless young, blue stars. The arms themselves are very tightly wound around the galaxy’s core and are nearly circular.
M95 can be seen as a hazy smudge on a clear, dark night using a good pair of binoculars, but large telescopes will reveal more detail. It appears close to M96, M105 and a number of fainter galaxies that all belong to the Leo I (or M96) group. The best time of the year to view M95 is in April.
Last Updated: March 16, 2018
Editor: Rob Garner
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