How to Find The Leo Trio

How to Find The Leo Trio 

messier 66 by ESO.jpg

These three wonderful galaxies can be seen in one small cluster in the constellation of Leo. Messier 66 is the brightest of the three. Messier 65 is more cigar shaped making it harder to spot and NGC 3628 is the hardest to observe.

Messier 66 is the twin spiral barred galaxy of M65. It is 35 million light years away. It was discovered on the same night as M65 by Messier in March 1780. This galaxy is full of star formation and has an unusual spiral arm with some missing material caused by its past interaction with its companion galaxy NGC 3628. Easily observable alongside its twin M65. 

Messier 65 is a spiral galaxy about 35 million light years away. It was discovered by Messier in March 1780. M65 is one of the 'Leo trio' of galaxies and so shows signs of interaction with its close neighbours. This galaxy is relatively easy to see in binoculars and in good conditions M66 should be visible nearby too.

The Leo Trio

Leo Trio Anttlers.jpg

Image credit: Anttler at en.Wikipedia

M66 can be seen bottom right and M65 top right. NGC 3628 is the top left galaxy in the image above.


Messier 66

magnitude: 8.9

surface brightness: 12.5

Messier 65

magnitude: 9.5

surface brightness: 13

NGC 3628:

magnitude: 9.5

surface brightness: 13.4

Telescope Aperture City Suburbs Rural Dark Sky
4 inches 9 10 11 12.5
5 inches 9.5 10.5 11.5 13
6 inches 10 11 12 13.5
8 inches 10.5 11.5 12.5 14
10 inches 11 12 13 14.5

Use this chart to estimate if you can see the object from your location with your telescope. For more help on using this chart click here.

How to Find it:

The Leo trio can be found in the crosshairs on the chart below in the constellation of Leo. It's co-ordinates are: RA 11h 20m 58.66 DEC +12° 54′ 47.2″ if you are using guiding software.

How to find the Leo Trio. Messier 65, 66 and NGC 3628

Here is a video demonstrating how to find the Leo Trio

To find more space objects have a look at the constellation guide by clicking the link or go back to the list of deep space objects.

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