Spiral galaxy M 65 (NGC 3623) in Leo
This color-composite CCD images shows
the bright early-type spiral galaxy M 65 (NGC 3623) in
Leo (part of the interacting Leo Triplet with NGC 3627 =
M 66 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 M 101 or M 83),
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.