Also known as the Leo Triplet and the M66 Group. North is to the left
in this shot and it has been cropped. The Leo Trio is made up of three
spiral galaxies all about 35 million light years away.
The top right galaxy is M65, a classic spiral with a bright core and well
defined spiral arms.
The left or northern most galaxy is NGC 3628. This is a spiral galaxy
that is seen edge on and includes a very prominent lane of dust in the disk
of the galaxy. It's appears larger than the two Messier galaxies in
the triplet but is not as bright since it's core is predominantly obscured
by the dust lane. This must be why Messier missed this galaxy in his
catalog given that the other two galaxies are included and all three are
easily seen in the same field of view at lower powers.
The lower right galaxy is M66. It has undergone gravitational
interactions with NGC 3628 distorting the shape of the galaxy and prompting
it to be included in Halton Arp's catalog of peculiar galaxies as ARP-16.
Telescope: TMB130SS @ f/4.7
Guiding: Maxim DL w/ Starlight Xpress Lodestar Off
LRGB Combine Exposures:
Luminance - 10x600 Seconds, Bin 1x1 (1.66 hours total)
Red - 5x300 Seconds, Bin 2x2
Green - 5x300 Seconds, Bin 2x2
Blue - 5x300 Seconds, Bin 2x2
ImagesPlus: Calibration, align and
combine, digital development
Photoshop CS4: Luminance, color combine, core
masking, levels, curves, saturation, Ha blend, crop
NeatImage: Noise reduction