March 22 – Messier 94

Messier 94, also known as NGC4736, was discovered today in 1781 by Pierre Méchain. It is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici, and is about 16 million light years (4.91 megaparsecs) away from us.

M94 (Image: NASA; JPL; Spitzer)
M94 (Image: NASA; JPL; Spitzer)

M94 has its own grouping of galaxies within the Virgo Supercluster, called (unsurprisingly) the M94 group . The group has about 20 members.


Asteroid 327 Columbia was discovered by Auguste Charlois on March 22nd, 1892. It is in the main belt, has an absolute magnitude of 10.1, and is of unknown spectral type.

Asteroid 327 was named after Christopher Columbus, the Genes explorer who helped kick-start the Spanish colonisation of the Americas.  Any mental image you might have of Columbus’ appearance is from a portrait made after his death.  There are no known paintings of Columbus dating from his lifetime.  So I won’t be including one here.