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M96 is a double-barred spiral galaxy seen in the direction of the Constellation Leo at a distance of approximately 38 Million Light-Years. It has faint outer arms, and a bright core surrounded by a ring of heavy star formation, with dust lanes extending all the way to the nucleus. A faint edge-on spiral galaxy can be seen shining weakly through the outer arm on the left side. Asymmetric arms and an offset nucleus shows effects of gravitational influence of nearby galaxies. A super massive black hole is located in the nucleus. M96 is the brightest member of the Leo I galaxy group. The bright inner portion stretches about 66,000 light-years across, and the dim outer arms extend out to about a 100,000 light-years. A bright supernova was discovered in M96 in 1998. Date: February 2013 Place: Fort Davis, TX Exposure Details: LRGB:560:150:180:240 unbinned Processing: MaxIm DL, CCDStack, Photoshop CS3 Optics: 12.5"RCOS Truss Focal Length: 2808mm @ f9 Mount: Paramount ME Robotic GEM Camera: STL6303E Focuser: RCOS Guiding: Off-axis with Homeyer guider and SBIG RGH camera Filters: Tru-Balance LRGB 2"

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