Catching Light

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Dan Lessmann

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M65, M66 and NGC 3628, The Leo Trio


Click image for larger version.


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.


Date:  1/20/2012

Location:  4Domes Observatory

Telescope:  TMB130SS @ f/4.7

Mount:  AP-1200

Camera:  QSI-583WSG

Guiding:  Maxim DL w/ Starlight Xpress Lodestar Off Axis

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

Post Processing:

ImagesPlus:  Calibration, align and combine, digital development

Photoshop CS4:  Luminance, color combine, core masking, levels, curves, saturation, Ha blend, crop

NeatImage:  Noise reduction

Last Updated: 11/12/2014  -  Copyright 2004-2013 by Dan Lessmann.  All rights reserved.  Please click here for my usage policy.