Pictures of Messier 106

Facts about and images of spiral galaxy Messier 106.

M106 Spiral Galaxy by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12

Messier 106 is a spiral galaxy located 24 million lightyears away in the constellation Canes Venatici.

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M106 – also known as NGC 4258 – spans some 135,000 lightyears across. The galaxy is thought to contain 400 billion stars.

Comet C/2017 passing M106 Vivek Chari, Texas, USA, 24–25 June 2020. Equipment: Nikon D5300 DSLR, Stellarvue SV80 apo refractor, Sky-Watcher EQ6R Pro mount
Comet C/2017 passing M106 Vivek Chari, Texas, USA, 24–25 June 2020. Equipment: Nikon D5300 DSLR, Stellarvue SV80 apo refractor, Sky-Watcher EQ6R Pro mount

Observations of M106 with the Hubble Space Telescope have revealed that the galaxy has not one, but two pairs of spiral arms, the extra set consisting of hot cosmic gas, rather than stars.

These extra galactic limbs could be a result of the supermassive black hole at Messier 106’s centre perturbing and mixing up in-falling cosmic matter.

M106 and its Neighbours by André van der Hoeven, Wateren, The Netherlands. Equipment: Takahashi FSQ106, NEQ-6, SXV-H9 CCD camera
M106 and its Neighbours by André van der Hoeven, Wateren, The Netherlands. Equipment: Takahashi FSQ106, NEQ-6, SXV-H9 CCD camera

M106 was discovered by astronomer Pierre Méchain in 1781. Méchain was a colleague of astronomer Charles Messier, who added the galaxy to his famous list of deep-sky objects, the Messier Catalogue.

Images of M106 reveal it is angled slightly edge-on from Earth’s perspective, although not as much as galaxies like the Needle Galaxy or NGC 891.

Below is a selection of images of Messier 106 captured by astrophotographers and BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers.

For advice on photographing a galaxy, read our guide to deep-sky astrophotography or our tutorial on deep-sky image processing.

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Galaxies in the Hunting Dogs by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex. UK. Equipment: Nikon D7000, Meade 5000 127mm refractor, EQ6 mount.
Galaxies in the Hunting Dogs by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex. UK. Equipment: Nikon D7000, Meade 5000 127mm refractor, EQ6 mount.
M106 and Companions by Chris Heapy, Macclesfield, UK. Equipment: TeleVue NP127is, Atik490EX, Losmandy G11, TV Pronto, SX Lodestar, Baader LRGB, Astrodon 3nM Ha.
M106 and Companions by Chris Heapy, Macclesfield, UK. Equipment: TeleVue NP127is, Atik490EX, Losmandy G11, TV Pronto, SX Lodestar, Baader LRGB, Astrodon 3nM Ha.
M106 by Richard Wykes, Northamptonshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 250P 10
M106 by Richard Wykes, Northamptonshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 250P 10″ Newtonian, NEQ6, modified Canon 1000D, Skywatcher ST80, QHY5L-II camera.
Messier 106 by Paul Hutchinson, Torquay, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Explorer 200p, Canon 1100D, HEQ5, SkyWatcher 50mm/162mm Finderscope, QHYCCD qhy-5 II, Astronomik CLS Canon EOS Clip
Messier 106 by Paul Hutchinson, Torquay, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Explorer 200p, Canon 1100D, HEQ5, SkyWatcher 50mm/162mm Finderscope, QHYCCD qhy-5 II, Astronomik CLS Canon EOS Clip
M106 and NGC4217 by Álvaro Ibáñez Pérez, Las Inviernas, Guadalajara, Spain. Equipment: TS115 Triplet APO refractor, TS Optics 0,79x, NEQ6 Pro II Tuning Belts, EQMOD, CCD Atik 460EX mono, Baader LRGB, IDAS LPS, Lunático EZG-60, SXLodestar, RoboFocus, FocusMax
M106 and NGC4217 by Álvaro Ibáñez Pérez, Las Inviernas, Guadalajara, Spain. Equipment: TS115 Triplet APO refractor, TS Optics 0,79x, NEQ6 Pro II Tuning Belts, EQMOD, CCD Atik 460EX mono, Baader LRGB, IDAS LPS, Lunático EZG-60, SXLodestar, RoboFocus, FocusMax
M106 Spiral Galaxy by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12
M106 Spiral Galaxy by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien, Skywatcher EQ8 mount, Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik LRGB filters, Hutech IDAS light pollution filter, Astro physics 0.67 reducer.
An Active Galaxy by Terry Hancock, Fremont, Michigan, USA. Equipment: Astro-Tech AT12RC, Paramount GT-1100S German Equatorial Mount, QHY16200A mono CCD, QHYOAG-M Off Axis Guider, Optolong LRGB filters.
An Active Galaxy by Terry Hancock, Fremont, Michigan, USA. Equipment: Astro-Tech AT12RC, Paramount GT-1100S German Equatorial Mount, QHY16200A mono CCD, QHYOAG-M Off Axis Guider, Optolong LRGB filters.
M106 Spiral Galaxy by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12
M106 Spiral Galaxy by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount, Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik LRGB filters, Hutech IDAS light pollution filter, Astro physics 0.67 reducer.