M108 - The Surfboard Galaxy
Messier 108 (M108), nicknamed the Surfboard Galaxy, is a barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major.
The galaxy lies at an approximate distance of 45.9 million light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 10.7. It has the designation NGC 3556 in the New General Catalogue.
Messier 108 occupies an area of 8.7 by 2.2 arc minutes of apparent sky, corresponding to a spatial diameter of 110,000 light years. The galaxy is inclined 75 degrees to our line of sight. Even though it appears almost edge-on, M108 is a popular target among amateur astronomers and astrophotographers because details of its structure can be seen even in amateur telescopes.
3-inch telescopes will only reveal an elongated streak of light with a brighter core, while 8-inch instruments will hint at the galaxy’s dusty regions and bright and faint patches.
Facts about M108 by Keith Turnecliff
The best time of year to observe M108 is during the spring. The galaxy is circumpolar north of latitude 35N and can be seen throughout the year.