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NGC 4631: The Whale

NGC 4631 (The Whale Galaxy) is an enormous Sc type spiral galaxy seen edge-on. The galaxy is apparently distorted slightly due to the companion galaxy, NGC 4627. The pair together are included in the Arp Catalog of Peculiar galaxies as ARP 281. This group of galaxies is between 25-30 million light years away. Note faint tidal tails between these two galaxies.

Out of the field of view to the southeast (down and left) is the companion galaxy NGC 4656, which shows significant distortions, apparently due to tidal interactions with NGC 4631; detailed surveys of the region have shown that a tenuous bridge of hydrogen gas connects the two, indicating this past history of interaction.

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Last Updated: 03-Apr-2014

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About This Image

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Equipment

20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.1

Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

One iteration of L-R deconvolution (sharpening) algorithm using CCDsharp was applied to the luminance image.

Digital Development (DDP) via Maxim/DL was also used in order to display the very dim and very bright details of

the image simultaneously.

Luminance = 105 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Green = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Blue = 20 minutes binned 2x2

Minimum credit line: John Vickery and Jim Matthes/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF