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[M 96]

Messier 96

Observations and Descriptions

Discovered on March 20, 1781 by Pierre Méchain.

Messier: M96.
March 24, 1781. 96. 10h 35m 05s (158d 46' 20") +12d 58' 09"
Méchain: (158d 48' 00") +12d 57' 33"
Nebula without star, in the Lion [Leo], near the preceding [No. 95]: this one is less distinct, both are on the same parallel of Regulus: they resemble the two nebulae in the Virgin [Virgo], Nos. 84 and 86. M. Méchain saw them both on March 20, 1781.

William Herschel
[Unpublished Observations of Messier's Nebulae and Clusters. Scientific Papers, Vol. 2, p. 660]
1784. Mar. 11 (Sw. 164). A fine, bright nebula, much like the former [M95], but the brightest part in the middle is more jopined to the nebulosity than in the former, and the bright part is rather longer, tho' not quite so vivid as in the former. It may still be called cometic, tho' it begins to depart a little from that kind.

John Herschel (1833): h 749.
h 749 = M96.
Sweep 19 (March 10, 1826)
RA 10h 37m 42.4s:, NPD 77d 18' 11" (1830.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
v B; L; R; g m b M; r; 2' diam
Very bright; large; round; gradually much brighter toward the middle; mottled; 2' diameter.

Sweep 22 (March 13, 1826)
RA 10h 37m 43.1s:, NPD 77d 17' 34" (1830.0)
v B; p L; s m b M; almost to a nucl. Seen at the same time by M. Knorre.
Very bright; pretty large; suddenly much brighter toward the middle; almost to a nucleus. Seen at the same time by M. Knorre.

Sweep 240 (March, 1830)
RA 10h 37m 46.8s:, NPD 77d 17' 17" (1830.0)
v F (cloudy); R; p s b M; a good obs. of place
Very faint (cloudy); round; pretty suddenly brighter toward the middle; a good observation of [the] place [position].

Sweep 340 (April 6, 1831)
RA 10h 37m 48.5s:, NPD 77d 17' 0" (1830.0)
v B; v L; E; v s v m b M; 6'l, 5'br
Very bright; very large; extended [elongated]; very suddenly very much brighter toward the middle; 6' long, 5' broad.

[from his description of M95, his No. CCCLXXXV (385)]
Nearly a degree to the eastward of this object, follows another round but not equally well defined nebula, large, and of a pale white colour. It is Messier's No. 96, and was also discovered by Méchain in 1781; it constitutes the intersecting point of a rectanle formed by five stars, of which the nearest is in the sp [south preceding] quadrant, and of the 11th magnitude.

John Herschel, General Catalogue: GC 2194.
GC 2194 = h 749 = M96.
RA 10h 39m 20.4s, NPD 77d 26' 55.8" (1860.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
vB; vL; lE; vsvmbM; r. 8 observations by W. & J. Herschel.
Very bright; very large; little extended; very suddenly very much brighter toward the middle; mottled.

Dreyer: NGC 3368.
NGC 3368 = GC 2194 = h 749; Méchain, M 96.
RA 10h 39m 22s, NPD 77d 26.7' (1860.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
vB, vL, lE, vsvmbM, r; = M96
Very bright, very large, little extended, very suddenly very much brighter toward the middle, mottled.

[Descriptions of 762 Nebulae ans Clusters photographed with the Crossley Reflector. Publ. Lick Obs., No. 13, Part I, p. 9-42]
NGC 3368, RA=10:41.5, Dec=+12:21. A fine strong spiral; brightest part 2.6' long. Bright stellar nucleus; the outer whorl of the brighter structure forms a nearly complete oval ring; a much fainter whorl outside this brings the total length to about 7'. A clear-cut rift goes in to nucleus on n.p. [north preceding, NW] side. Reproduced in Publ. Astr. Soc. Pac., June, 1913, frontispiece. See Abs. Eff. 20 s.n.
  • Observing Reports for M96 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: May 21, 2006