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 The Whale and the Hockey Stick - NGC4631 & NGC4656  
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Three low surface brightness dwarfs discovered around NGC 4631 by Igor D. Karachentsev, Dirk Bautzmann, Fabian Neyer, Robert Polzl,Peter Riepe, Thorsten Zilch, and Bruno Mattern

[Read the Paper]

NGC 4631 is a big beautiful spiral galaxy seen edge-on (top left) only 25 million light-years away towards the small northern constellation Canes Venatici. This galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others the popular moniker of The Whale Galaxy. Either way, it is similar in size to our own Milky Way. In this deep color image, the Whale's dark interstellar dust clouds, yellowish core, and young blue star clusters are easy to spot. A companion galaxy, the small elliptical NGC 4627, appears left the Whale Galaxy. At the lower right is another distorted galaxy, the hockey stick-shaped NGC 4656. The distortions and mingling trails of gas detected at other wavelengths suggest that all three galaxies have had close encounters with each other in their past. The Whale Galaxy is also known to have spouted a halo of hot gas glowing in x-rays. [Text adapted from APOD]

Optics: Takahashi FSQ-106EDXIII F/5 530mm. - APO Refractor
Mount: SW HEQ5 Pro
Camera: QSI-683WSG
Filters: Astrodon E Series Gen II LRGB 31mm
Guiding Systems: SX Lodestar
Dates/Times: 30 April 2014
Location: Castelmagno - Cuneo - Italy
Exposure Details: L:R:G:B => 130:56:48:56 = > (13x10):(7x8):(6x8):(7x8) All Bin1 [num x minutes]
Cooling Details: -35 C
Acquisition: Voyager, Maxim DL/CCD, TheSkyX
Processing: CCDStack2+, PixInsight, PS CS5
Mean FWHM: 1.71 / 2.11
SQM-L: 21.60 / 21.89
NOTE: Noise due to the High Stretched Data