My first stop on this, my first recorded outing with my telescope in 2006, was the constellation
M65, M66 and NGC3628
These three galaxies are discussed in my latest observing article for the Durham Astronomical Society. Together they are known as the Leo Triplett Group. This group of galaxies is located around 35 million light years away. They took some finding in the telescope but the sight was well worth waiting for (see the image from the DSS Image Collection) - all three members clearly visible and arranged in an isoceles triangle in the 25mm eyepiece. The best direction finding stars were a small chain of 5 dim stars, the Group being located close to these.
All three galaxies are spiral galaxies and M66 was clearly brighter (mag 9.0) than the other two. M65 was comparable (mag 9.3), also being face on, but the NGC galaxy was distinctly fainter (mag 9.5) and had the elongated shape of a side on galaxy. Both
NGC3384, M105, M96 and M95
A second group of galaxies in the constellation Leo, this time known as the Leo I Group. It has 10 known members and lies 38 million light years from the Local Group. The main members were catalogued by Messier. Of these M96 appeared the brightest, although at mag 9.2 it was dimmer than the bright galazy in the previous group. All of the galaxies observed in this area were compact fuzzy blobs their bright central cores could easily have been confused with stars if it weren't for their distinctive arrangement in the sky. It was brilliant to be able to sweep amongst this group and compare each of the visible members.
This bright white double was split only at x200, however the problem seemed to be more a focusing issue as it was difficult to focus both stars at once - I therefore suspect my collimation needs checking before I next go out.
M67 - The Wizard Cluster
This compact, but fairly bright open cluster in
Before packing up, under rapidly clouding skies, I pointed my scope into the Coma Cluster of Galaxies. Immediately I was rewarded with a rich field of view, in the centre of which was a bright star and close beside it a compact galaxy which appeared to be around mag 9.5. Based on my sky chart I believe this was
I took a look at
The view of