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Contains:  NGC 4657, NGC 4656, NGC 4631, NGC 4627
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Whale & Hockey Stick Galaxies • NGC 4631 & 4656, 


            Douglas J Struble
Whale & Hockey Stick Galaxies • NGC 4631 & 4656

Whale & Hockey Stick Galaxies • NGC 4631 & 4656

Technical card

Resolution: 3072x2458

Dates:May 25, 2019June 2, 2019June 7, 2019June 8, 2019June 11, 2019

Astrnomik CLS-CCD: 256x60" -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik Deep-Sky B: 120x60" -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik Deep-Sky G: 107x60" -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik Deep-Sky R: 120x60" -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik Luminance (UV/IR Cut) L-1: 333x60" -20C bin 1x1

Integration: 15.6 hours

Darks: ~50

Flats: ~50

Bias: ~250

Avg. Moon age: 13.66 days

Avg. Moon phase: 35.47%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 6.40 job: 2741041

RA center: 190.770 degrees

DEC center: 32.335 degrees

Pixel scale: 1.086 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 1.356 degrees

Field radius: 0.593 degrees

Locations: Backyard Red Zone Observatory, Taylor, MI, Michigan, United States

Data source: Backyard


I am so spent with galaxy season here in my bortle dark-sky scale of 6.4. Glad the milky way is coming back up again!

NGC 4631 (the Whale Galaxy), which is located near the top right corner of this image, is an edge-on spiral galaxy 25 million light-years distant in the constellation Canes Venatici. This galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape gives it the appearance of a herring or a whale, hence its nickname. NGC 4631 contains a central starburst, which is a region of intense star formation. The strong star formation is evident in the emission from ionized hydrogen and interstellar dust heated by the stars formed in the starburst. NGC 4631 has a nearby companion dwarf elliptical galaxy, NGC 4627, shown above NGC 4631 in the image above. NGC 4631 and NGC 4627 are part of the NGC 4631 Group, a group of galaxies that also includes the galaxy NGC 4656/57, located near the lower left corner of this image.

The hockey stick-shaped NGC 4656 is another distored galaxy. Its distinctive shape is due to a recent gravitational interaction with the galaxy NGC 4631. The bright knot on the left of this galaxy has been assigned the separate NGC number NGC 4657 (as William Herschel had cataloged it separately).



Douglas J Struble
License: None (All rights reserved)

Sky plot

Sky plot


Whale & Hockey Stick Galaxies • NGC 4631 & 4656, 


            Douglas J Struble