Tuesday, August 20, 2013 12:00am -0400

Stellar Eyes on the Needle Galaxy.

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The Needle Galaxy The Needle Galaxy Terry Hancock

This bright galaxy is one of the most famous examples of an edge-on spiral galaxy, oriented perpendicularly to our line of sight so that we see right into its luminous disc. NGC 4565 has been nicknamed the Needle Galaxy because, when seen in full, it appears as a very narrow streak of light on the sky. It is amazing to see such beautiful detail in a galaxy 50 million light years from Earth both from the ground and in astonishing close ups by Hubble.


NGC 4565 the Needle Galaxy or Caldwell 38 is an edge-on spiral galaxy about 30 to 50 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices.

The image above was shot from Fremont Michigan by Terry Hancock over 4 nights in March 2013 and combined with luminance from an earlier shoot in May last year, quite a few smaller galaxies are also visible in this image. The Spiral Galaxy NGC 4562 top right , the spiral galaxy IC 3546 top left, Irregular Galaxy IC 3571 to the left of The Needle Galaxy and another Spiral IC 3582 far left and below the middle of the image, there are several other lesser known fuzzies visible.

The image below snapped by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals an exquisitely detailed view of part of the disc of the spiral galaxy NGC 4565.


The edgewise view into the Needle Galaxy shown here looks very similar to the view we have from our Solar System into the core of the Milky Way. In both cases ribbons of dust block some of the light coming from the galactic disc. To the lower right, the dust stands in even starker contrast against the copious yellow light from the star-filled central regions. NGC 4565's core is off camera to the lower right.

Studying galaxies like NGC 4565 helps astronomers learn more about our home, the Milky Way. At a distance of only about 40 million light-years, NGC 4565 is relatively close by, and being seen edge-on makes it a particularly useful object for comparative study. As spiral galaxies go, NGC 4565 is a whopper — about a third larger than the Milky Way.

Credit: Terry Hancock and ESA/NASA

You can view more images from Terry Hancock on his Flickr page as well as his Facebook page Down Under Observatory and his website www.downunderobservatory.com.


Read 6986 times Last modified on Sunday, May 17, 2015 11:21am -0400
Laurel Nendza

Laurel Nendza is the owner and creator of Stellar Eyes.