M65
Nearly edge-on Spiral Galaxy
aka NGC 3623, Arp 317, PGC 34612, MCG 2-29-18, Uppsala 6328
Integrated Visual Magnitude: 10.2
Apparent Diameter: 9.1' x 2.2'
Mean surface brightness: 22.1 mag/arc-sec2

Minimum requirements to view: a 2-inch scope under country skies


Three bright galaxies in Leo form a famous trio.  The two brightest are M65 and M66.  They are visible in even the smallest amateur instruments from a suitably dark site.  The third is NGC 3628.  Although it wasn't observed by Messier, it is still an excellent target for telescopes large and small.  Burnham's noted that they "form a noble group for the small telescope."

The M65, M66 and NGC 3628 trio. M65 is upper left. M66 upper right. The field is 1o x 1o. North is down and east is to the right.
M65 appears in any telescope as a classic galaxy; a smooth oval haze with a brightening toward the center.  The dark lane is visible to an experienced observer using a large-aperture instrument.

William Herschel described M65 as "a very brilliant nebula, extended in the meridian, about 12' long.  It has a bright nucleus, the light of which suddenly diminishes on its border, and two opposite faint branches."  Walter Scott Houston noted that although he was aware of the dark lane it "was only suspected, and probably not seen at all" in his 10-inch under dark skies.


The field in a six-inch at 50x. North is down and east is to the right.
Millennium Star Atlas Vol II Chart 729
Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 13
Uranometria 2000 Vol I Chart 191

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