Discovered by Mechain in 1781 at the same time as M95, M96 is an impressive Spiral Galaxy of type SBb, although the bar is much less obvious than in M95, with which it forms a pair (just 3/4 degree away). M105, a bright elliptical galaxy, lies just to the North. At magnitude 9.3 and of size 7.5' x 5', M96 is visible in most amateur 'scopes. It is part of the Leo group of galaxies and lies some 28 million light years away. In May 1998 a bright supernova was visible in this galaxy - click here for a picture.
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