The Leo Triplet with TEC140 and QHY268C

The Leo Triplet is a popular and famous group of galaxies in the constellation of Leo, best viewed in late winter/early spring in the Northern Hemisphere.   They are often imaged together like this as the triplet or as individual galaxies.

They are located about 35 million light years away and consists of the Messier galaxies M66 (top left in the image), M65 (bottom left ) and to the right we have NGC 3628, commonly called The Hamburger Galaxy.

The galaxies are easily visible in a small to mid-sized telescope as faint smudges in this isosceles triangular pattern.  The galaxies are sometimes called the M66 Group but ask any astronomer and they will immediately know what you mean if you mention the Leo Triplet!  Another famous galaxy group in Leo is the M96 group.

Leo Triplet FSQ85 and QHY268C
The Leo Triplet

Technical Details

Image captured from my back yard observatory in Nottingham, UK on the 20th March 2021 just to the East of the Meridian line.  I captured 40 x 180s exposures with my QHY268C One-Shot-Colour camera on my TEC140 refractor using off-axis guiding on my MESU 200 mount.  The only filter I used was a LDAS Light pollution filter since I live in a residential area with Bortle 5 sky conditions.

Seeing and transparency were terrible and I debated with myself long and hard whether I bothered imaging at all on that night.  However,  since in the UK we have just endured the worst winter for cloud I can remember in 30 years of practical astronomy, I decided that beggars can’t be choosers and I went ahead with it anyway.  I am glad I did since the outcome is not too bad.

Ideally it could use more exposure time and I will add to this as and when we get some more clear sky time.

Images exposures captured with Sequence Generator Pro and processed with PixInsight and Photoshop CC.

The image above  is a crop of the image below.  I include this since some people my prefer the wider field.

Leo Triplet with TEC140 and QHY268C
Leo Triplet with TEC140 and QHY268C

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