Messier 66 is the largest of the Leo Triplets (a trio of spiral galaxies) and is distinguished by its asymmetric spiral arms which appear to climb above M 66's main disc and its seemingly displaced core. Both distortions are believed to be the result of the gravitational pull of its two galactic siblings, M 65 and NGC 3628. Further, with three supernovae since 1989, including one as recently as 2009, M 66 is host to a relatively exceptional number of supernovae explosions.
Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration.
Wide-field view of Messier 66. Credit: NASA, ESA and and Digitized Sky Survey 2.
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