And when there is a spring there is a time fo galaxy hunting. Messier 96 (left) is spiral galaxy placed about 38 million light years away. It has been discovered in year 1781 by Pierre Méchain. It is quite small galaxy that can be hardly spot using binoculars in excellent conditions. The galaxy is categorized as double barred spiral galaxy and its nucleus probably contains supermassive black hole. M96 has assymetric arms and displaced core, probably due to interactions with nearby galaxies. M96 is also the brightest galaxy within the M96 Group.
This galaxy group also contains galaxy M95 (right) – barred spiral one. M95 was one of  the galaxies in the project of determination the Hubble constant: HST has been employeed to look for cepheids in M95 to determine its distance. After corrections for Hipparcos result the distance to M95 and other galaxies of M96 group has been determined for about 38 million light years.


2014-03-09-m96m95A little bit below and to the right from this picture center there seems to be an empty region, but wherever you look deep enough there is always something (check the Hubble Deep Field). And it is also here – below there is 100% resolution crop from the image above. Almost half of the light sources there are the galaxies. Some of them are fainter than 19mag, and many of them have the radial velocity in the range between 12000 to 18000 km/s. So that is the apparent speed they recede from us and that implies the distance to them around one billion light years. 

Clear skies!