Hubble peers into the heart of a distant galaxy

Messier 96 is of about the same mass and size as the Milky Way. It was first discovered by astronomer Pierre Méchain in 1781. It is a very asymmetric galaxy with its spiral arms thought to have been influenced by the gravitational pull of other galaxies within the same group as Messier 96.

This group, named the M96 Group, also includes the bright galaxies Messier 105 and Messier 95, as well as a number of smaller and fainter galaxies.