Leo Trio Of Galaxies M65, M66 & NGC 3627

galaxies
Leo Triplet or M66 Group of Galaxies M 65 (NGC 3623) Top Right M 66 (NGC 3627) Bottom Right
NGC 3628 Left
Telescope / Lens TEC 140mm f/7 Refractor
Mount Type Astrophysics 1200
Camera SBIG ST10XME
 Filters Astrodon LRGB
 Film  CCD
 Exposure 165 minutes (2 hours 45 minutes); LRGB (L=120,RGB=15 each) 5 minute exposures
 Processing CCDSoft, CCDStack, AIP, Photoshop CS2
 Date  04/20/2009
 Location Eagles Ridge; 25 Miles South of Dexter, Oregon 122° 42′ 45″ W, 43° 48′ 17″N
Observing site used by Eugene Astronomical Society ( http://www.eugeneastro.org/ )
 Conditions 3411′ elevation, magnitude 6 Skies; Clear

This trio of galaxies located in the rear leg area of the Constellation LEO, the lion. They are situated halfway between the stars Chertan (3.3 magnitude) on top and  78-Iota Leonis magnitude 4.46, on the bottom. This is a small group of galaxies      35 million light years away. Shinning at magnitude 10.3, 9.7 and 9.4 respectfully, they are visible through a good pair of binoculars or small 4-6″ telescope. Wide field eyepieces with larger aperture instruments of 12-16″ really show them well.

NGC 3628 is an edge on galaxy discovered by William Herschel  in 1784.  Estimated at 300,000 light years across and 35 million light years away. Apparent magnitude of 10.2 and 15′ x 3.6′ (arcminutes) in size. (Lower Right)

M 65 Galaxy NGC 3623 (Upper Right) Apparent magnitude 10.25 and 8.7′ x 2.45′ 

M 66 Galaxy NGC 3627 (Lower Right) 95,000 light years across, 8.9 mag. 9.1′ x 4.2′