The Leo Triplet

The 3 Galaxies named:

  • Messier 65 (Mag 9.3   SB 12.80)
  • Messier 66 (Mag 8.9   SB 12.70)
  • NGC 3628  (Mag 10.3 SB 14.21)

make up the Leo Triplet, a classic cluster of Galaxies, as shown below.

LeoTrio-Feb08-rework1  Click on image for a larger view …

Camera
Optics
Focal Length
Focal Ratio
ISO
Autoguiding?
Subs
Total Exposure
Canon 40D (unmodified)
Canon 500L IS + x1.4 ext
700mm
f5.6
1250
No
48
2hours 24minutes

 

In the image above M65 is uppermost, M66 lower right and NGC3628 to the left.

As you might suspect, they are to be found in the constellation of Leo. The 3 galaxies are about 35 million light years distant from us and are sometimes called the M66 group. These galaxies are distorted by the gravitational interactions between them. Whilst being the dullest of the three, NGC3628 is a particularly interesting galaxy with a large & deformed equatorial dust band. Having a low surface brightness it was awkward for Messier to spot and so its discovery was left for William Herschel to accomplish.

 

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