The Leo Triplet (M 65, M 66 and NGC 3628): an image – 3 Feb. 2024

The famous “Leo Triplet”, including the outstanding Messier 65, Messier 66 and NGC 3628 galaxies, is one of the best know groups of galaxies in the sky. Here it is, captured under the darkest sky of the Italian peninsula.

The Leo Triplet: M 65, M66 and NGC 3628. 3 Feb. 2024.

The Leo Triplet: M 65, M66 and NGC 3628. 3 Feb. 2024.

The image above comes from the sigma clipping combination of 30, 120-second unfiltered exposures, taken with the ARTEC250+Paramount ME+C3Pro61000EC robotic unit available as part of the Virtual Telescope Project facility in Manciano, Italy. They were taken under excellent sky conditions (SQM >21.5), reaching a limiting magnitude around 21.5, so going quite deep.

Messier 66 and Messier 65 were discovered on March 1780 by C. Messier and both are intermediate spiral galaxies. NGC 3628 was discovered by W. Herschel on 1784 and it is a edge-on spiral galaxy, nicknamed “Hamburger Galaxy”. All these galaxies are at about 35 million of light years from us. NGC 3628 shows its faint tidal tail.

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