Hemisphere:  Northern  ·  Constellation: Leo (Leo)  ·  Contains:  M 65  ·  M 66  ·  NGC 3623  ·  NGC 3627  ·  NGC 3628
The Leo Triplet, 


            Jason Guenzel
The Leo Triplet
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The Leo Triplet, 


            Jason Guenzel
The Leo Triplet
Powered byPixInsight

Acquisition details

Feb. 22, 2020
716×30(5h 58′)
5h 58′
Avg. Moon age:
28.49 days
Avg. Moon phase:

Basic astrometry details

Astrometry.net job: 3562901

RA center: 11h20m35s.8

DEC center: +13°1648

Pixel scale: 2.919 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 87.602 degrees

Field radius: 1.086 degrees

Resolution: 1920x1866

File size: 1.3 MB

Data source: Backyard


The Leo Triplet is a .... you guessed it, trio of galaxies toward the constellation Leo. It is a beautiful “nearby” grouping about 35 million light years distant.

These galaxies are close enough to each other to be gravitationally bound. In the upper left, the tidy spiral galaxy M65 appears to be the least disturbed.

Below that on the left, is the spiral M66. M66 shows an extended and offset outer halo. The bright blues and magenta patches in the arms indicate that it is actively forming new stars. These features point toward a past interaction with a neighbor.

Probably the most telling example here is NGC3628 sitting on the right side of this image. This one is affectionately called the Hamburger Galaxy and it’s not hard to see why. But... this hamburger sprouted a tail! This tidal tail is a stream of stars 300,000 light years long. These were gravitationally ripped from the inside of the galaxy and strewn across intergalactic space. This provides the evidence that these galaxies have had quite an interaction in the past, perhaps a very close brush.


Sky plot

Sky plot


The Leo Triplet, 


            Jason Guenzel

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