Updated: Oct 28, 2019
Featured on The Astrophotographer's Guidebook.
Featured on Amateur Astrophotography Magazine - Issue 61
This was not planned, but while pointing the telescope at M95, we saw several fuzzy blobs of light and decided to take a picture of it because why not. On the single shot we discovered much more, and decided to check the area out on Stellarium and recenter everything properly so we could get as many galaxies as possible!
The three brightest ones are M95, M96 and M105. The five others are NGC galaxies (a couple of them are really hard to find!).
Camera: Canon t3i
Telescope: Orion 8" Astrograph f/3.9
Mount: Atlas EQ-G motorized Mount
Total Exposure Time: 2.3 hours
Exposure Time per frame: 6 minutes
23 lights - 18 Darks - 111 Bias
LOCATING THE M96 GROUP
Galaxies in the M96 Group are too faint and impossible to see with the naked eye. They are also extremely difficult to spot with binoculars and you would need very large ones.
M95 is one of the faintest Messier objects in the entire catalog, so the best way to look at this target is through a telescope. Most telescopes will only show the core with faint gas around it, but large instruments under perfectly dark skies will reveal more detail in the spiral arms.
The M96 Group is located in the constellation of Leo. To find it, start from Regulus, the brightest star of the constellation, then make your way in a straight line to Denebola, which is also in Leo. You should cross over the M96 group about one third of the way there.
M95 is receding from the Milky Way at 778 km/s
M95 is one of the faintest objects in the Messier Catalog
M96 is the brightest and largest member of the M96 Group
PROCESSING THE M96 GROUP
Because of their small size and great amount of detail, each galaxy is best photographed with a large telescope, such as 12” or bigger. If using an 8” telescope or smaller, like us, you can center the view right in between M96 and M95. By doing so, you will be able to capture several galaxies from the M96 Group.
Processing can be a little tricky in a sense that you need to keep an eye on each of those worlds, and keep their brightness, saturation, and crispness similar to each other.
Messier 95: Barred spiral galaxy that is part of the M96 galaxy group.
Receding from the Milky Way at 778 km/s
One of the faintest objects in the Messier Catalog
Contains about 40 billion stars
Messier 96: Considered an intermediate spiral galaxy, and just like M95, it is part of the Leo I Group of galaxies.
Receding from the Milky Way at 897 km/s
Brightest and largest member of the M96 Group
Contains about 100 billion stars
M105 (Top right): Elliptical galaxy also part of the M96 Group.
NGC 3384 and NGC 3389 can be seen next to M105
Surrounded by Hydrogen Gas
Discovered in 1781
The M96 Group is a very impressive group of galaxies that are fairly easy to capture. We only spent a couple hours on it and the result is pretty good!
Part of: The Astrophotographer's Guidebook
Description: Discover 60 Deep Sky Objects that will considerably improve your Imaging and Processing skills! Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced astrophotographer, this detailed book of the best deep sky objects will serve as a personal guide for years to come! Discover which star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies are the easiest and most impressive to photograph for each season. Learn how to find each object in the night sky, and read our recommendations on imaging them in a quick and comprehensive way. Each target in this guide contains our advice on imaging, photos of expected results, and a useful information table. We've also included a few cool facts about each target, a map to find it in the night sky, and more!