Photo of the Week

M65 & 66 in Leo by Martin Bernier

M65 & 66 in Leo by Martin BernierFor deep-sky lovers, spring is prime time for galaxy hunting. At this time of year, hundreds of these “island universes” are within reach of backyard telescopes from sites with reasonably dark skies. Along with NGC3628 (not shown in the photo above) the galactic duo of M65 (right) and M66 are the famed Leo Triplet, or Trio in Leo. Under good conditions you can glimpse the Messier pair in binoculars, and a small telescope adds NGC3628 to the scene. These galaxies don’t simply look like they belong together, they actually are together—all three are gravitationally connected and lie at a distance of roughly 30 million light years.

Martin Bernier, of  Saint-Liboire, Québec, captured this finely detailed photo in March 2016 with a QSI 683wsg-8 cooled CCD camera attached to an Astro-Tech AT12IN 12-inch f/4 imaging Newtonian reflector telescope.

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