NGC4631 The Whale Nebula

NGC 4631 is an edge-on spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. This galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape gives it the appearance of a herring or whale, which is why it is infrequently referred to as the Whale Galaxy. Because this nearby galaxy is seen edge-on from Earth, professional astronomers observe this galaxy to better understand the gas and stars located outside the plane of the galaxy. NGC 4631 has a nearby companion dwarf elliptical galaxy, NGC 4627. You can see it as a fuzzy patch just above the larger galaxy. NGC 4627 and NGC 4631 together were listed in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as an example of a "double galaxy" or a galaxy pair. This image was taken the evening of April 10, 2010. It is 90 minutes of luminance and 90 minutes of color data. Click on the image for more detail.

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