D. Heilman Astrophotography

The Leo Trio of Galaxies

The Leo Trio is a cluster of three magnificent galaxies in the constellation that bears the name.  All are large spiral galaxies, NGC3628 (left), NGC3623 or M65 (top), and NGC3627 or M66 (right).  Our line of sight from Earth makes each look different.  NGC3628 is seen edge-on with prominent dust lanes visible along the galactic plane, while M65 and M66 are somewhat inclined and display their spiral features.  Gravitational interaction between the cluster has given way to distortions in the spiral structures, most prominent displayed in this image by the spiral arms of M66.  The estimated distance to the trio is approximately 30 million light years.