M65 and M66 in Leo


Copyright 2004 Hap Griffin

Shown here are the galaxies M66 and M65.  These two spiral galaxies both lie at a distance of 35 million light-years, and along with a third nearby spiral, NGC 3628, form what is known as the Leo Triplett...a close conjunction of three galaxies visible together in a wide-field telescope eyepiece.  Due to the camera's field of view, only two are shown here.

M66 (on the left) displays some distortions in its spiral arms, possibly owing to its gravitational interaction with its neighbors.  A small area of high intensity star formation can be seen at the end of the spiral arm towards the bottom of the photograph.

M65 (on the right) is a very typical spiral galaxy that displays a prominent central bulge, tightly wound spiral arms, and a prominent dust lane containing knots of star formation regions.




Date/Location:    January 21, 2004     Griffin/Hunter Observatory    Bethune, SC
Instrument:    Canon 10D Digital SLR through 10" Meade LX-200 
Focal Ratio:   f4 via Lumicon GEG focal reducer
Guiding:    Auto via Lumicon GEG w/ SBIG ST4
Conditions:    Visually clear
Weather:    31 F
Exposure: 13 x 5 minutes @ ISO 800
Filters:    None
Processing:    Focused with DSLRFocus.  RAW to TIFF conversion, dark frame calibration, and DIgital Development in ImagesPlus.  Final finishing, sizing and JPEG conversion in Photoshop