Image Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration.
Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin and Robert Gendler

This majestic beast is none other than Messier 66. Located about 36-million light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Leo, M66 is about 95-thousand light-years across making it comparable to the Milky Way. M66 is the largest member of the Leo triplet, which also contains M65 and NGC 3628.

 

The trio are classified as ‘interacting galaxies’ because their individual gravities are pulling and distorting one another (this, obviously, gives M66 some peculiar asymmetries). At some point in the future, these three galaxies will merge into a single, even larger one.

 

 


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