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The Details
NGC 4631 The Whale Galaxy in Canes Venatici
12.5" RCOS Ritchey-Chretien
Astro-Physics 1200 GTO
Tru-Balance LRGB filter set
05 June 2005
Laguna Mountains, Eastern San Diego County, CA

L 14 x 600 sec 1x1 bin, RGB 4ea x 300 sec 2x2 bin

Maxim DL/CCD, Registar, Photoshop, Neat Image 4.4 Pro+
Field of View: 23’32" x 15’51" centered on RA 12h42m02s
DEC 32°33’30” (2000.0) . North angle 357.92 °; east 90° CW from north

NGC 4631, The Whale or Herring Galaxy, is a very large edge-on spiral galaxy exhibiting a warped shape due to gravitational attraction from nearby neighboring galaxies. One of those galaxies, present in the above image, is the small elliptical NGC 4627 lying just above The Whale. The faint glow that can be seen between the two galaxies is actually a bridge of material resulting from the gravitational interplay between the two objects. Active starbirth regions can be seen throughout NGC 4631, with the pink areas being HII nebular regions while the blue areas indicate regions of newly formed stars. Clumps and delicate wisps of instersteller dust can be seen surrounding the bright core of this galaxy. Discovered by William Herschel in 1787, NGC 4631 is also cataloged in the Arp Catalog of Peculiar Galaxies as ARP 281.

This image was featured in the Gallery section of the May 2006 issue of Sky & Telescope Magazine.




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