For today’s observation blog, here is our image of Messier 105 (also known as NGC 3379) taken from Al Sadeem Observatory on May 7, 2018, using RC8″ Telescope, EQ6 pro mount, and unmodified Canon EOS 1D Mark IV.
Messier 105 is an elliptical galaxy which lies about 32 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Leo. Discovered by Charles Messier’s colleague Pierre Méchain on March 24, 1781, it contains about 40 billion stars, spanning across space of about 54,000 light-years in diameter. Its neighboring galaxies NGC 3384 and NGC 3389 can be seen as well within the same field of view.
It was initially not included in the original Messier catalog but eventually added by astronomer Helen S. Hogg in 1947 when she discovered Méchain’s letter describing the galaxy.
It was found that it has a super-massive black hole with an estimated mass of 140-200 million solar masses through Hubble Space Telescope observations which depicted very rapid motions of stars near the galaxy’s center. Generally, elliptical galaxies were considered “dead” due to its incapability of producing young stars within them, but M 105 was an exception after Hubble astronomers surprisingly discovered some young stars and star clusters, indicating star formation is still active within the galaxy.
Having a faint apparent magnitude of 10.2, it cannot be seen with the naked eye and quite difficult to spot using the typical astronomical equipment. It will need at least an 8-inch aperture telescope or larger to see the galaxy as a small round faint patch of light with not much detail, like any other elliptical galaxy. Best observed during spring when the constellation Leo is mostly seen throughout the night, M 105 is situated somewhere in between the two bright stars Denebola and Regulus. To be more precise, it lies a little bit below midway between Chertan and Regulus, where another nearby galaxy M 96 can be found as shown in the diagram below.