Galaxy’s NGC 4631 and NGC 4656
Constellation Canes Venatici RA 12h 43m Dec +32 27

Stacks Image 4832

Larger size jpg image available here: 1900x1228

A Whale and Hockey Stick

About this object

NGC 4631, also known as the Whale Galaxy is the object near upper center in the image. This galaxy has an interacting companion listed as NGC 4627 and is located just above the Whale. These two are interacting as a stream of hydrogen gas connects the two. This steam of gas can be seen in the high resolution image available above. The Whale galaxy lies about 25 million light years away and is seen edge on. Its reportedly about the same size as our Milky Way galaxy. Below and to the left of this pair is another interacting pair of galaxies (NGC 4657, 4656) nicknamed the Hockey Stick and Puck.
An extremely faint stream of stars can also be seen in the high resolution image between these two pairs suggesting they interacted in the past. Other observations and studies report there is a large stream of stars surrounding NGC 4631 in a circular pattern.

This image was taken with a 130mm telescope and ccd camera and is composed of nearly 23 hrs of exposure time.
Image Details

  • Optics : Stellarvue SVS 130 6 element Refractor
  • Mount: Paramount MYT
  • Camera: SBIG STL 11K
  • Filters: Custom Scientific L: R:G:B,
  • Exposure: LRGB: 380:340:330:320 Total exposure time 22.8hrs
  • Camera/Mount Control: The Sky X, CCD Auto Pilot 5
  • Guiding: Unguided using ProTrack
  • Processing: PixInsight 1.8,
  • Location: Stark Bayou Observatory, Ocean Springs, MS
  • Date: Jan-Feb 2016
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