M65 and M66 are two spiral galaxies in Leo that present a fine pair in the same low power field of view of most amateur telescopes. Shining at magnitude 10.1 and 9.6, respectively, these galaxies can be seen with a good pair of binoculars under dark skies. The galaxies are about 30 million light-years away. The diameter of M65 is about 60,000 light-years, and the diameter of M66 is about 50,000 light-years. M65 and M66 were discovered by P. Mechain in March 1780. Charles Messier did not notice these galaxies, even though Messier's comet of 1773 passed by them on November 2, 1773. Mechain suggested that Messier "no doubt missed them because of the light of the comet."
M66 is the galaxy on the left in this image, and M65 is on the right. Pause your cursor over each galaxy and a pop-up window will appear that identifies it. In amateur size telescopes, these two galaxies form a beautiful trio with NGC 3628, which is only 35 arcminutes north of M66.
This is an RGB color composite CCD image assembled from exposures taken on two nights. An SBIG ST-8E CCD was used with a Takahashi FCT-150 refractor at f7.
M65 (NGC 3623)
RA: 11h 18m 56s Dec: +13d 05' 27" (J2000)
M66 (NGC 3627)
RA: 11h 20m 15s Dec: +12d 59' 24" (J2000)
June 12 & 14, 2003
Image by Sid Leach
Complete list of images.
Description of equipment used to acquire images.
Feedback and comments should go to Sid