M65 and M66 in Leo and a Lucky Supernova

Camera: Finger Lakes Instrumentation MicroLine ML8300 with FLI CFW-2-7 Filter Wheel

Mount: Paramount ME

Scope: Zambuto 12.5

Colors: L:R:G:B

Exposure Time: 100:30:30:30

Post-Production: MaxIm DL, CCDStack, PixInsight, and Photoshop CS5

These two colorful galaxies are part of the Leo Trio of galaxies which I have imaged many times in the past. I chose to image them again to test my new home-built astrograph, which I just finished. I happened to catch Supernova 2013am in the image. I actually imaged this supernova on the day it was discovered. I hadn't noticed it in my image until someone pointed it out to me. I thought I would post a separate cropped version showing the supernova: to see it, click the drop-down list and choose the other image. The pair are just 35 million light-years distant and around 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own spiral Milky Way. While both exhibit prominent dust lanes sweeping along their broad spiral arms, M66 (on the right) in particular is a striking contrast in red and blue hues; the telltale pinkish glow of hydrogen gas in star forming regions and young blue star clusters. M65 and M66 make up two thirds of the well-known Leo Triplet of galaxies with warps and tidal tails that offer evidence of the group's past close encounters. The larger M66 has been host to four supernovae discovered since 1973. (Some text and description from APOD)

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