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Leo Triplet, M65, M66, NGC 3628



Scope: Explore Scientific MN-152 "Mak-Newt" at f/4.8,  Blair Valley, Anza Borrego Desert, CA,  21 March 2012, Camera: ST8300M

Exposure: 16 x 8 minutes  UV/IR Block ,  and 8 x 4 minutes (2x2) RGB Exposures 

Processing: Images were captured with CCDSoft. Aligned/stacked and dark subtracted in Astroart; Sigma Combine method was used for stacking subs.  All channels were scaled and rough color balanced in Astroart.   Channels were co-registered in Astroart.   Central gradient was removed in Astroart. The UV/IR Block exposures  were used for the main luminance construction.  Level adjustments and curves were used to bring out object features.   LRGB combine was done in Photoshop. Color saturation performed by Luminance Layering and LAB Color Space Curves. The background was gain reduced on the Luminance channel as well as a light noise reduction applied.  Final touches and color balance in Photoshop. Final Image size is approximately 3252x2532 (cropped and resized to 3200x 2400).

 North is up in this image. This is an image of the well known "Leo Triplet" group of galaxies located in the constellation of Leo. The Individual members consist of NGC 3628 (top), M65 (right), and M66 (left).  M66 is considered larger than its neighbor, M65.  Although it is close to and thus under the gravitational influence of its neighbors, M65 looks like a very "normal" Sa type spiral and seems to have felt little influence. NGC 3628 is the faintest  in the group. NGC 3628 is seen edge-on. A conspicuous band of dark dust clouds form a broad equatorial band, which obscures the galaxy's bright central region, and hides most of the bright young stars in its spiral arms. The dust band, or belt, is obviously distorted and deformed in the outer regions of the galaxy. The reason for this deformation is evidently the gravitational interaction with its two bright neighbors, M65 and M66. Numerous other smaller galaxies are seen in the background of this field. All three objects are estimated to be a bout 35 million light year distant from Earth. This image replaces and earlier image that can be seen in the Archives here.  Horizontal FOV is about 120'.

Image center is located approximately - Equatorial 2000: RA: 11h 19m 53.6s Dec: +1319'45" 


All images and content remain the property of Jim Thommes - copyright 2003 - 2012

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