NGC 4631, The Whale Galaxy in Canes Venatici

Rod Pommier
Location of photo
Pommier Observatory, Portland, OR, USA
Date/Time of photo
2016-03-29 through 2016-04-18
Celestron Compustar C14 with Astro-Physics 0.75x focal reducer (f/8). SBIG STL 11000 CCD camera with Baader Planetarium LRGB filters. SBIG AO-L adaptive optics @ 7 Hz. Exposures: LRGB=350:70:60:60 minutes=9 hours total exposure.
NGC 4631 is an edge-on barred spiral galaxy in Canes Venatici exhibiting a disk of young blue stars and core of old yellow stars. It has an equatorial dust lane dotted with numerous red emission nebulae. It's appearance is strongly suggestive of a whale. complete with an OB association of blue supergiants as a pectoral fin and an emission nebula as an eye. It is interacting with the dwarf elliptical galaxy NGC 4627, similar to the dwarf galaxy NGC 205 (M110) near M31, the Andromeda galaxy. The pair are often referred to as the "Whale and Pup" and lie approximately 30 million light-years from Earth.
All comments must follow the Sky & Telescope Terms of Use and will be moderated prior to posting. Please be civil in your comments. Sky & Telescope reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter’s username, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.