Barred Galaxies in Leo and Supernova

September 28, 2012


: Greg Parker; Greg’s New Forest Observatory Web site
Summary Authors: Greg Parker; Jim Foster

The image above features the barred spiral galaxies M 96 (left) and M 95 (right) found in the constellation of Leo the Lion. The yellow bars in M 95 highlight a supernova that was detected in March of this year. This supernova was a 12th magnitude object at its brightest – approximately only 1/25,000 as bright as the brightest star in Leo (Regulus). It was too dim to see even with binoculars but was a nice target with small telescopes. Both M 95 and M 96 are about the same distance from us (around 38 and 31 million light-years away, respectively) and not surprisingly, both were discovered by the same astronomer, Pierre Merchain, in 1781. Image acquired on March 24, 2012 from the New Forest Observatory in Hampshire, U.K.

Photo details: Imaged with Hyperstar using a Celestron 11 telescope. M95 is intentionally pushed over to the far right on this image because Mars, nearby in apparent terms, was causing havoc with its bright, red light pollution.