Whale Galaxy NGC 4631
The Whale Galaxy (NGC 4631) is a large spiral galaxy, similar in size to our own Milky Way, but seen edge-on.  At a
distance of 22 million light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici, this galaxy is among the brightest omitted from
Messier's famous catalog, but Patrick Moore included it as entry 32 in his Caldwell Catalog.   A smaller elliptical galaxy,
NGC 4627 appears to float on the back of the whale. The Whale Galaxy lacks the symmetry of other edge-on spirals such
as
NGC 4565. Gravitational interactions with adjacent NGC 4627 and nearby NGC 4656 not only distort the galaxy, but
also stimulate a burst of new star formation.  These young stars appear in clusters as blue-white areas in our view.

This image combined 3 1/4 hours of Luminence exposures using an ST10XME camera and AP reducer through a Meade
12" LX200R telescope, with 1 1/2 hours red and 1 hour each of green and blue exposures using an ST2000XM camera
through a TEC140 refractor.  This photo, combining almost 7 hours of total exposures, was take at the
Hidden Lake
Observatory.
Music:  Octopus Garden, the Beatles
click on image for full size