Spiral galaxy M65

This color-composite CCD images shows the bright early-type spiral galaxy M65 (NGC 3623) in Leo (part of the interacting Leo Triplet with NGC 3627 = M66 and NGC 3628). This is one of the nearest galaxies with such a large bulge and tight arms; the intricate spiral dust lanes are especially well shown. The arms have a much smoother texture than in later Hubble types (like M101 or M83), but their blue color compared to the central bulge still betrays recent star formation.

This color composite is from B and I images (with synthetic V) taken during twilight with a Tektronix 2048x2048 CCD at the prime focus of the 4-meter Mayall telescope of Kitt Peak National Observatory. North is at the top and east to the left, for direct comparison with a chart or eyepiece view. The image has been block-averaged to 512x512 for this presentation, which uses a logarithmic intensity transformation to preserve information across a wide dynamic range. The field is 7.1 arcminutes square. A few of the brighter field stars saturated the CCD so strongly that some of the electric charge bled along columns, giving the vertical streaks from several stars. I left the sky a bit darker than usual in this image, to hide the dark blotch in the B image left over when a moth worked its way into the filter wheel; insects don't flat-field very well while still alive and flapping inside the camera.

The pair NGC 3623/7 (M65/66) is well shown in context in this red-light CCD image obtained with UA's 0.4-meter telescope:

Red-light image of galaxy pair NGC 3623/3627

And in wider context as part of the "Leo Triplet" along with the edge-on starburst spiral NGC 3628, in this image from the University of Alabama Crimson Dragon wide-field imaging system deployed on Kitt Peak:

Green-light image of galaxy troplet NGC 3623/3627/3628

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