In the constellation Leo the Lion, a group of distant galaxies stands out supreme. These galaxies, termed M65 and M66 for their order in the Messier Catalog and
NGC 3628, lie at a distance of 35 million light years. M65 is the at the lower left of this image with tight spiral arms, similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy. M66, at
the upper left, has had its spiral arms distorted, probably due to interaction with M65. NGC 3828, on the right, is an "edge-on" spiral galaxy, with a broad band of
interstellar dust obscuring the central disk. For an inhabitant of any of these galaxies, the views of the other galaxies would be spectacular, covering as much of the sky
as one of our constellations!
This image above combined 90 minutes clear luminance unbinned exposures with 70 minutes red, 40 minutes blue, and 40 minutes green exposures binned 2x2. A QSI
583 camera was used through a TEC 140 refractor. The image below used an ST10XME through an AP 105 mm refractor in a light polluted suburb 5 years earlier,
and combined 3 hours of luminance exposures with 40 minutes of green and red and 60 minutes of blue exposures, for a total exposure time of 5 hours 20 minutes.
Music: Lion Sleeps Tonight
|Astronomy Magazine 2011 Winning Photograph
"In the Deep-sky category, longtime Astronomy magazine contributor Ruben Kier, bested the competition. His superb image
shows three galaxies â€” M65, M66, and NGC 3628 â€” collectively called the Leo Trio because of the constellation in which