The VLT goes lion hunting

The Very Large Telescope has captured another member of the Leo I group of galaxies, in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). The galaxy Messier 95 stands boldly face-on, offering an ideal view of its spiral structure. The spiral arms form an almost perfect circle around the galactic centre before they spread out, creating a mane-like effect of which any lion would be proud.

Another, perhaps even more striking, feature of Messier 95 is its blazing golden core. It contains a nuclear star-forming ring, almost 2000 light-years across, where a large proportion of the galaxy’s star formation takes place. This phenomenon occurs mostly in barred spiral galaxies such as Messier 95 and our home, the Milky Way.

In the Leo I group, Messier 95 is outshone by its brother Messier 96 (see potw1143). Messier 96 is in fact the brightest member of the group and — as “leader of the pride” — also gives Leo I its alternative name of the M 96 group. Nevertheless, Messier 95 also makes for a spectacular image.

Stop press! By coincidence Messier 95 is the host of a probable supernova that was first spotted on 17 March 2012. Discovery details are here. And as another coincidence both supernova and galaxy are currently very close to the brilliant planet Mars amongst the stars of Leo. Please note that the observations used to make this Picture of the Week were taken before the supernova occurred, and therefore the supernova itself does not appear in this image.

Kilde:

ESO

Om bildet

ID:potw1212a
Type:Observasjon
Publiseringsdato:19. mars 2012 10:00
Størrelse:2043 x 2044 px

Om objektet

Navn:Messier 95
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Avstand:35 million lysår
Constellation:Leo
Kategori:Galaxies

Bildeformater

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Medium JPEG
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Zoombart


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Koordinater

Position (RA):10 43 57.80
Position (Dec):11° 42' 13.36"
Field of view:6.80 x 6.81 arcminutes
Orientering:Nord er 89.9° til venstre for vertikalen

Farger og filtre

BåndTeleskop
Optisk
V
Very Large Telescope
FORS1
Infrarødt
I
Very Large Telescope
FORS1
Optisk
Pseudogreen (V+I)
Very Large Telescope
FORS1