Messier 95 or M95 (also designated NGC 3351) is a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Leo. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 9.7 and its angular diameter is 4.4x3.3 arc-minutes. M95 lies at an estimated distance of 38 million light years. The Equinox 2000 coordinates are RA= 10h 44m, Dec= +11° 42´ which makes M95 best seen during the spring. The Messier Spring Star Chart shows the position of all Messier objects visible during that season.

The image above shows the uncropped view of M95 (right) and M96 (left) through the Takahashi E-180 Astrograph (North is up). A 3x enlargement of this image centered on M95 appears to the right.

This galaxy was discovered by P. Méchain in 1781. It is one of four barred spiral galaxies included in the Messier Catalog (M58, M91, M95, and M109). M95 is a member of the Leo I group of galaxies, which includes M96, M105 and a number of fainter galaxies.

According to Stoyan et al. (2010), the distance of M95 is 32.6 million light years and its diameter is 70,000 light years. Its estimated mass is 50 billion solar masses.

For more information, see the Messier Catalog as well as specific entries for M95 in Wikipedia and SEDS.

Messier's Description of M95

March 24, 1781
`Nebula without star, in the Lion [Leo], above star l (53 Leonis): its light is very faint.'

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