NGC 3521 resides in relative solitude, approximately 35 million light years from earth, between the constellations of Leo, Virgo and Hydra. The arms of this beautiful galaxy are somewhat
irregular and discontinuous and as such is categorized as a flocculent spiral galaxy.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect is the gas bubble evident around the galaxy. It is theorized that this gas shell is likely tidal debris – remnants of stars torn from satellite galaxies that
merged with NGC 3521. Due to this gaseous shell it is sometimes referred to as the “Bubble Galaxy”.
The fact that Charles Messier did not discover this galaxy remains somewhat of a mystery as it is brighter than several he did discover in nearby Leo. William Herschel is credited with its
discovery in 1784.