|NGC 4631 "Whale" & NGC 4656 "Hockey Stick": Galaxy Group (Canes Venatici) RA: 12h 43.1m / DEC: +32° 20'.8|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
NGCs 4627, 4631 and 4656 reside 5.5 degrees northeast of 4.4 magnitude Gamma (15) Comae Berenices. 4.9 magnitude 37 Com shines 4 degrees to the southeast. NGC 4631 is the brightest of the four. This 9.2 magnitude Sc-type spiral is elongated 10'x2' at 82X in the 10-inch. Its humpback shape has garnered the nickname, the "Whale." A faint star is centrally positioned along the northern edge of NGC 4631. NGC 4627 is slightly north and west of this star. This 12.5 magnitude elliptical galaxy appears 2'x1'.3 in the 10-inch. NGC 4627 a radial velocity similar to NGC 4631, an indication they may be gravitationally bound. NGC 4656 stands about 35' to the southeast. This 10.6 magnitude irregular galaxy is referred to by some as the "Hockey Stick." The irregular blade-like feature at the southeastern end of NGC 4656 is designated as NGC 4657. However, this is not a separate galaxy. It is part of NGC 4656. This bend at the outer reaches of the galactic disk may have resulted from gravitational interaction with NGC 4631.
Layout, design & revisions © W. D. Ferris
Comments and Suggestions: email@example.com
Revised: March 3, 2002 [WDF]