M65 and M66

Nearby and bright, spiral galaxies M65 (top) and M66 stand out in this engaging cosmic snapshot. The pair are just 35 million light-years distant and around 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own spiral Milky Way. While both exhibit prominent dust lanes sweeping along their broad spiral arms, M66 in particular is a striking contrast in red and blue hues; the telltale pinkish glow of hydrogen gas in star forming regions and young blue star clusters. M65 and M66 make up two thirds of the well-known Leo Triplet of galaxies with warps and tidal tails that offer evidence of the group’s past close encounters. The larger M66 has been host to four supernovae discovered since 1973.

Image credit & copyright: Bill Snyder (Heavens Mirror Observatory)


"Hi There"

M65 Recoiless Nuclear Rifle. Also referred to as the M28, M29, or ”Davy Crockett,” the weapon was either hand carried or mounted on a jeep. The M65 was tested once in 1962 but suffered from a fatal flaw. Despite utilizing among the smallest nuclear warheads ever built (as low as 10 tons and as high as 1 kilotons), the effective range of 3 miles was within the fallout radius of the payload, meaning that unless the wind was at their backs, the crew of the weapon would be exposing themselves to nuclear fallout.

 NATO commanders objected to issuing the weapon to soldiers in Europe on the grounds that doing so would restrict their ability to defend themselves without resorting to nuclear weapons. Some members of the West German administration, however, were serious proponents of the weapon’s deployment in defending Germany.

The pictures above were taken at the United States Army Ordinance Museum.

Edge-on NGC 3628

Sharp telescopic views of magnificent edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 3628 show a puffy galactic disk divided by dark dust lanes. Of course, this deep galactic portrait puts some astronomers in mind of its popular moniker, The Hamburger Galaxy. The tantalizing island universe is about 100,000 light-years across and 35 million light-years away in the northern springtime constellation Leo. NGC 3628 shares its neighborhood in the local Universe with two other large spirals M65 and M66 in a grouping otherwise known as the Leo Triplet. Gravitational interactions with its cosmic neighbors are likely responsible for the extended flare and warp of this spiral’s disk.

Image Credit & Copyright: Alessandro Falesiedi