M65, together with its neighbors M66 and NGC 3628, form a most conspicuous triplet of galaxies, the Leo Triplett or M66 group, located at a distance of about 35 million light years.
Although it is close to and thus under the gravitational influence of its neighbors, M65 looks like a very "normal" Sa type spiral and seems to have felt little influence. It has a prominent central lense and tightly wound spiral arms, plus a prominent dust lane marking the facing edge. The luminous disk is dominated by a smooth old stellar population. Near the lane, some knots are visible, which, according to J.D. Wray, may be associated with star forming regions. The lane may hide regions of star formation usually associated with such features in spiral galaxies. (seds.org)