lunes, 7 de septiembre de 2015

THE SPIRAL GALAXY MESSIER 96


Dust lanes seem to swirl around the core of the spiral galaxy Messier 96 in this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / LEGUS Team / R. Gendler.


Messier 96, also known as NGC 3368, LEDA 32192 or M96, is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation Leo, about 34 million light-years from Earth.

The galaxy was first discovered by French astronomer Pierre Méchain on March 20, 1781, and added to Charles Messier’s catalogue of astronomical objects just four days later.

It spans about 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Its estimated mass is approximately 80 billion solar masses.

Messier 96 is a dominant member of the Leo I galaxy group, also called the M96 group.

The group also includes Messier 95, Messier 105 as well as a number of fainter galaxies, and is the nearest group containing both bright spiral galaxies and a bright elliptical galaxy.

Messier 96 resembles a giant maelstrom of glowing gas, rippled with dark dust that swirls inwards towards the nucleus.

It’s a very asymmetric galaxy; its dust and gas is unevenly spread throughout its weak spiral arms, and its core is not exactly at the galactic center.

Its arms are also asymmetrical, thought to have been influenced by the gravitational pull of other galaxies within the Leo I group.

Astronomers have determined that Messier 96 is inclined by 35 degrees to our line of sight.