Astronomy Picture of the Day
    


Messier 96
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Messier 96
Credit & Copyright: Mark Hanson and Mike Selby
Explanation: Spiral arms seem to swirl around the core of Messier 96 in this colorful, detailed portrait of a beautiful island universe. Of course M96 is a spiral galaxy, and counting the faint arms extending beyond the brighter central region it spans 100 thousand light-years or so. That's about the size of our own Milky Way. M96 is known to be 38 million light-years distant, a dominant member of the Leo I galaxy group. Background galaxies and smaller Leo I group members can be found by examining the picture. The most intriguing one is itself a spiral galaxy seen nearly edge on behind the outer spiral arm near the 1 o'clock position from center. Its bright central bulge cut by its own dark dust clouds, the edge-on background spiral appears to be about 1/5 the size of M96. If that background galaxy is similar in actual size to M96, then it would be about 5 times farther away.

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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& Michigan Tech. U.

Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day

Publications with keywords: spiral galaxy - M 96
Publications with words: spiral galaxy - M 96
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