Waid Observatory

Object: NGC 4631/4627/4656

Date: May 9-10-15, 2018    -    Location: Davis Mountains west of Fort Davis, Texas
Telescope: Stellarvue SV102ED  -  Mount: MI-250  - Camera: ST-8300M   F:6.95
Exposure: L = 210 min.  -   R & G = 75 min each   -   B = 90 min.

Click on the image to view at higher resolution.

NGC 4631

NGC 4631/27/56 - The Whale, Pup, and Hockey Stick Galaxies 1 - 2

Located approximately 25 million lightyears distant in the constellation Canes Venatici are 3 gravitationally interacting galaxies. The prominent galaxy at the top of the image above is NGC 4631, the Whale Galaxy.  The small elliptical galaxy located just above the Whale is designated NGC 4627 and is known as the Pup Galaxy.  These two galaxies are gravitationally bound and have mutually distorted the physical shapes of both galaxies.  The galaxy located near the bottom left of the image is designated NGC 4656 and is commonly known as the Hockey Stick Galaxy.  The distinctive shape of the upper end of the galaxy was probably the result of a close encounter with NGC 4631.  The faint object just above and slightly left of the Hockey Stick may not be part of the galaxy but instead an irregular dwarf galaxy in the process of merging with NGC 4656.


Copyright Donald P. Waid