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Messier 94 (also known as NGC 4736) is a spiral galaxy in the mid-northern constellation Canes Venatici. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781 and catalogued by Charles Messier two days later. Although some references describe M94 as a barred spiral galaxy, the "bar" structure appears to be more oval-shaped. It is classified as having a low ionization nuclear emission region (LINER) nucleus. LINERs in general are characterized by optical spectra that reveal that ionised gas is present but the gas is only weakly ionized (i.e. the atoms are missing relatively few electrons).

The galaxy has two ring structures - the inner ring with a diameter of about 5,400 light-years and an outer ring with a diameter of about 45,000 light-years. These rings appear to form at resonance points in the disk of the galaxy. The inner ring is the site of strong star formation activity and is sometimes referred to as a starburst ring. This star formation is fuelled by gas driven dynamically into the ring by the inner oval-shaped bar-like structure.


  • Optics: Officina Stellare ProRC 700.

  • Camera: FLI PL16803 CCD.

  • Filters: Astrodon LRGB.

  • Location: IC Astronomy Observatory, Spain.

  • Exposure: 9h20m.

  • Acquisition: Image data acquired remotely using the Telescope Live SPA-2 telescope.

  • Processing: PixInsight & Adobe Photoshop.

  • Credit & Copyright: Chris Willocks / Telescope Live.

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