Feb 252012

The Leo Triplet

The Leo Triplet is generally easy to find with a small short focal length telescope, often one can capture all three galaxies in the same field of view. The Leo Triplet consists of NGC 3628, Messier 65, and Messier 66, all roughly 35 million Light Years away. The Leo Triplet is located on the back leg of Leo the Lion, about half way between Chertan and iota Leonis, M65 is right on the line connecting the two stars. NGC 3628 is the dimmest object at Magnitude 9.4, but has reasonable surface brightness, M66 is 9.7 and M65 is 10.3. Most small scopes can get M65 and M67 in the same field of view, all three are in the same field of view with a short focal length small scope. Now that spring is approaching, it is a good time to go out and find the Leo Triplet in the east, in the same part of the sky as is Mars!