Object Data: The Leo Trio is a group of three galaxies in the constellation of Leo, consisting of NGC 3628 (left), M65 (top right) and M66 (bottom left). The galaxies are close enough that strong gravitational interactions are visible such as the inflated disk of NGC 3628 and the distorted spiral arms of M66. The group's distance from earth is estimated to be 30 million light-years. M65 and M66 were discovered by Mechain in March 1780 when they were also catalogued by Messier. With the addition of NGC 3628, a large Magnitude 10.3 edge on galaxy, they make an attractive photographic composition.
Please click here to see the new high resolution image of M65 and M66
Location: Southern France
Conditions: Calm, no dew, transparency=7, seeing=9
Optics: Astro-Physics 155 EDF f/7 working at f/5.2 with AP reducer
Mount: AP 900 GTO on Portable Pier
Camera: SBIG ST-8E / CFW-8
Guiding: Integral ST-8E autoguider
Exposure: LRGB: Luminance: 12x 10 minutes; RGB: 4x 10:10:16 minutes binned 2x2
Processing: Image acquisition and initial processing using Maxim DL, subsequent processing in RegiStar and Photoshop.
Notes: A night of excellent seeing helped produce fine detail in these galaxies.