Wrote this in the review of my APM 8” f/9 refractor and what was first official light for the big refractor called “The Beast” in 2006:
Now what will be official first light object? Well, how about the Leo Trio (M-65, M-66, and Ngc-3628).
So I entered M-65 in the hand controller, and the big guy swung right over to the Trio.
I looked into the Meade 5k 32mm Plossl (56x), and was greeted by one excellent view. All three galaxies bright and clear, almost poster like!
I put in a Meade 5k 18mm UWA (100x). Though all three were still in the field of view, I slewed the scope just onto M-65 and M-66. Even at this relatively low power detail was very much evident. M-65 was long with a bulging center. M-66 showed the elongated bar in the center with hints of spiral arms. Slewing to the third galaxy Ngc-3628 I found it was bright with that dark lane very apparent cutting through the galaxy. I was pleasantly surprised how much detail was evident at this power. Switching to an 11mm Nagler (164x) showed M-65 big and bold with a slight hint of the dark lane. M-66 at this power definitely showed spiral arms, and Ngc-3628 was reaching almost end to end in the eyepiece field.