Credits: Jamie Bell
M95 is a barred spiral galaxy located in the constellation Leo. It lies at a distance of 32.6 million light years from Earth. M95 has the designation NGC 3351 in the New General Catalogue. It occupies an area of 3.1 by 2.9 arc minutes of apparent sky, which corresponds to a spatial extension of about 46,000 light years.
With an apparent magnitude of 11.4, the galaxy is one of the fainter objects in the Messier Catalogue. In large binoculars, it only shows up as a hazy smudge, but it can easily be seen in small telescopes.
6-inch and 8-inch telescopes reveal a diffuse oval ball of light with a brighter centre, and the galaxy’s bar structure is only visible under exceptionally good conditions.
Facts about M95 by Keith Turnecliff
Messier 95 contains a ring-like circumnuclear star-forming region at its centre. The region has a diameter of 2,000 light years.
The star formation within the ring is arranged in clumps, each about 60 to 85 parsecs in diameter. Each of the clumps contains compact young clusters of stars.
The galaxy’s core is where most of the star forming activity is taking place.
The best time to observe M95 is during April.