Pair in Leo
Instrument: 12.5" f/5 Home made Newtonian
Platform: Astrophysics 1200 QMD
CCD Camera: SBIG ST10XME NABG with Enhanced Cooling
Guider: SBIG ST4
Exposure: LRGB = 50:20:20:20
RGB Combine Ratio: 1: 1: 1.4
Filters: AstroDon RGB Tricolor
Location: Payson, Arizona
Elevation: 5150 ft.
Sky: Seeing FWHM = 6.8 arcsec (Maxim DL - 10min subframe), Transparency 6/10
Outside Temperature: 5C
CCD Temperature: -20 C
Processing Tools: Maxim DL, Photoshop, PixInsight, CCDops Debloomer, Ray Gralaks Sigma.
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Few places in the sky are
more inspiring than in Leo, with numerous galaxy clusters and
bright groupings. This pair is one of the most spectacular, and
rich with detail. The seeing this night was terrible, and even
a mild deconvolution made for poor star images. None the less
I decided to go for the faint detail and blue arms of these two
galaxies with the increased blue sensitivity of our new camera.
Two images are
presented here, on the left a standard deep image processed normally.
On the right is a highly stretched image to show the huge outer
envelope of stars surrounding M66.
On the left
is M65, a 10.3 magnitude nearly edge on spiral that is a huge
9.8 arcminutes in size. Brownish red dust lanes and a sunshine
yellow core bring it to life. On the right is M66, an inclined
spiral that is even brighter at 9.7 magnitude, and also a huge
9 arcminutes long. Only M66 seems to display a bright stellar
core, the area around M65's core is filled with a yellow glow
of billions of suns. A few 18th magnitude background galaxies
are present, but require a map to locate. South is up in this