M65, M66, and NGC3628, the Leo Triplet

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  • RA: 11:18.9 (M65), 11:20.2 (M66), 11:20.3 (NGC3628)
  • Dec:  +13.05 (M65), +12:59 (M66), +13:36 (NGC3628)
  • Magnitude: 9.3 (M65), 9.0 (M66), 9.5 (NGC3628)
  • Size:  8x1.5 (M65), 8x2.5 (M66), 14x3.6 (NGC3628) all in arc min.
  • Distance: 35000 kly
  • Constellation:  Leo


  • Scope: 8" SCT at f/6.3
  • Autoguider: ST-4 faint mode
  • Sky conditions:  Good seeing and transparency but cold (in the teens).
  • Film: Fuji Superia 800 (no 4th layer)
  • Exposure: 45 and 30 minutes
  • Date:  February 12, 2002



Comments:  These three galaxies, the heart of the M66 group, form a beautiful and photogenic group.  Lying at a distance of 35 million light years, it is probably physically related to the M96 group.  After several attempts at chasing the triplet I finally had a sky with no clouds.  It was quite cold and mercifully the wind really died out by the time I was ready to shoot.  Previous attempts were always ruined by high thin clouds rolling in.