Leo Triplet

My image of the Leo Triplet was taken over several nights, stacking Luminance, Red, Green and Blue data together for this final image.

The Leo triplet is a collection of galaxies  approximately 35 million light years away in the constellation of Leo and comprises the gravitational bound spiral galaxies of M66, M65 and NGC 3628.  These three spiral galaxies of the Leo triplet can be viewed in a single field of view even in a small telescopes south of the star Chertan which forms part of the lion shaped constellation of Leo.

NGC 3628 is the edge on galaxy in this image showing the band of dust on the outer edges of its spiral arms and tantalising detail. It’s often called the hamburger galaxy due to its sandwich shaped ‘tidal tail’ appearance and less often called Sarah’s galaxy. The slightly strange shape maybe due to gravitational interactions with its neighbours.

The Leo triplet also contains M66, a spiral galaxy (top of this image) which is most face on to us.  Discovered by Charles Messier in 1780, it measures 95,000 light years across. It also also had 4 supernovae which is relatively high and may be attributed to gravitation interactions with its neighbours.

M65 was also discovered by Charles Messier which he originally described as “very faint nebulae without stars.”  This tags along well with modern observations as this galaxy is poor on dust and gas and shows little evidence of star formation.


Nick Cook. Amateur astronomer, space, history, nerd, extreme dog walker, cat slave, severe tinnitus sufferer. 13.7 billion years in the making - not that much better for it.

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