Horsehead M65 & M66 Horsehead

(Click on image for Full Resolution)

Date: Feb-Mar , 2007
Exposure: LRGB 330m:240m:260m:240m 66 x 300s L, 24 x 600s R, 26 x 600s G, 24 x 600s B
Processing: CCDSoftV5 for image acquisition, MaxIm V4 for Image calibration, Astrodon LRGB filters (15 flats each L, R,G,B, Bias subtracted and Sigma Clip combined, 40 bias frames Sigma Clip combined, 25-300s and 25-600s darks Sigma Clip combined), alignment, normalization, FITS files creation. CCDAutoPilot3 used to collect data over multiple nights. Photoshop CS2 for final LRGB processing, final layers adjustment and jpg conversion.
Conditions: Average to Good, Mag 4-5 Skies
Scope: RCOS 16" Truss
Camera: SBIG STL-6303, -25°
Comments: The Constellation Leo is where these two galaxies are located. At approx. 30 million light years from earth, M65 and M66 are anything but next door neighbors. They are joined by a companion NGC3628 that is just outside my cameras FOV, and that completes the "Trio in Leo". M65 has a very noticable dust lane that completely circles the core. M66 is a galaxy defined as non-symetric which could be partially due to the interaction with its neighbors. The spiral arms seem twisted and appear to be above its galactic plane. Both show nice detail and both exhibit star forming regions as indicated by the pink regions. This image was take over multiple night which had some very good seeing condition when the air was calm and humidity above 80%. Some of the individual 5 min Luminance images we measuring 1.5" FWHM close to the zenith.