Leo Triplet (M65, M66, NGC3638)

Leo Triplet (M65, M66, NGC3638); Captured from Colorado Springs, Colorado on 16 April 2023 with ASI2400 Big Zeus with Optolong L-Pro

Fun facts

The Leo Triplet (also known as the M66 Group) is a small group of galaxies about 35 million light-years away in the constellation Leo. This galaxy group consists of the spiral galaxies M65, M66, and NGC 3628.

{From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Triplet }

Other Catalog Designations: M65, M66, NGC3638 (Hamburger Galaxy)
Subtype: Spiral Galaxy
Distance from Earth: 35 million light years
Visual Magnitude: 10.25
Constellation: Leo


Polar alignment: QHYCCD camera (controlled by Polemaster)
Imaging stream: Orion 10″ f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope, ZWO ASI2400MC imaging camera with Optolong L-Pro LP filter.
Mount: Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro Equatorial Mount (controlled by EQMOD)
Autoguider: Orion 60mm Multi-Use Guide Scope, Orion StarShoot AutoGuider Pro Mono Astrophotography Camera (controlled by PHD2)
All equipment controlled by HP Probook running Sequence Generator Pro v3.2.0.660.

Capture & processing notes

After calling HP on Sunday morning about the issue of HP DSO CTRL 2 shutting down in the middle of the session and their tech support (Justina) reloading bios and asking me to monitor for the next 24 hours and having another clear night forecast, I decided to image the Leo Triplet. When I set up the camera on the telescope, I put it at the 90-degree angle that the framing required – that seemed to facilitate the plate solving (i.e., no “rotate x degrees clockwise, now rotate y degrees counterclockwise, until it finally fails to plate solve on the target). The autoguiding still seems a bit rough (with PHD2 selecting a star (at least this time it did use multiple stars) at the very edge of the frame) – need to verify the settings against those in DSO CTRL1 and ask the question about how to select a different star than the auto selected star). But the capture proceeded throughout the night without interruption!
Sequence plan: Gain: 158, Temp: -0°C, offset=30. BZ LPro 78 x 5minute. Captured 16Apr2023 2102 – 17Apr2023 0401MDT. Total exposure time: 6:30hrs
Capture: 16 April 2023
Shooting location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Processing: Stacked in APP, processed in LR/PS.