M65 is a spiral galaxy and seems to have had little gravitational influence from it’s neighboring galaxies. Discovered on March 1, 1780 by Charles Messier. Tightly wound spiral arms along with a prominent dust lane on face on edge. Dominated by a smooth looking old stellar region and within the lane may contain some star forming regions. In 2013 the first supernova within the galaxy was discovered, known as 2013am first spotted on March 21, 2013.
M66 is another spiral galaxy and is considerably larger than M65. Also discovered by Charles Messier on March 1, 1780. This galaxy has a defined central bulge, and deformed spiral arms which may be the result of interactions with the gravity of it’s neighbors. Unlike M65, M66 shows a bit of nebulous regions signifying star forming regions near the end of one of the spiral arms.
NGC 3628 is an edge on unbarred spiral galaxy completely missed by Charles Messier and later discovered on April 8, 1784 by William Herschel. It may have been too dim to be seen in Messier’s telescopes, although his later instruments may have been able to see it if he went back during very good conditions. There is a dark band of dust along the equatorial region of NGC 3628 which hides not only some of the bright young stars in the spiral arm, but also obscures some of the bright central core. Also slightly deformed which is believed to be from it’s two neighboring galaxies, M65 and M66.
While viewing this group of galaxies I can’t help but notice the pareidolia of a face, with M65 and M66 as the eyes, and the edge on NGC 3628 as the mouth. With my gear I didn’t struggle to spot all three galaxies as Charles Messier did. The spiral arms of M65 and M66 were not much more than a bit fuzzy looking while the inner cores were bright. NGC 3628 was also quite visible and although it’s equatorial dust lane blocks a majority of the bright core it seems to have been the most prominent feature I could see through the eyepiece.
This image is 30 frames at 1.5 minutes a piece, ISO 800, and 30 dark frames. Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker, and post processing done in Photoshop.
I get all my Deep Sky object information from The Messier Catalog.
Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Modded Canon 350D
T-ring and adapter
Polar Scope for alignment