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The Leo Triplet | Hyperion Astronomy

The Leo Triplet

The Leo Triplet, or the M66 Group, is a group of interacting spiral galaxies located in the northern constellation Leo.

The group consists of the galaxies Messier 65Messier 66 and NGC 3628, also known as the Hamburger Galaxy. The Leo Triplet lies at an approximate distance of 35 million light years from Earth.

The three large spiral galaxies can be seen in a single field of view and are well viewed even in small telescopes. Their galactic disks are tilted at different angles when seen from Earth. NGC 3628 appears edge-on, while M65 and M66 are inclined enough to reveal their spiral arms.

The M66 Group is located in the eastern part of Leo constellation, along the line from the bright star Denebola to Regulus. The galaxies are located between the stars Chertan, Theta Leonis, and Iota Leonis.

Messier 66, the largest and brightest member of the Leo Triplet, is roughly 95 light years across. It has an apparent size of 9.1 by 4.2 minutes of arc and an apparent magnitude of 8.9.

Messier 65 has a visual magnitude of 10.25 and occupies an area of 8.709 by 2.454 arc minutes of apparent sky. It is an intermediate spiral galaxy, poor in dust and gas, and shows little evidence of star formation.

Equipment Details

  • OOUK AG16

  • Paramount MEII

  • Atik 11000

  • Southern Arizona

Data Details

  • L 300s x 31

  • R 300s x 12, G 300s x 12, B 300s x 12

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