Sunday, 28 April 2019

NGC4565: the Needle Galaxy

Yes, I know that I've been neglecting my blog recently. My sincere apologies for that. I hope that you understand that I want to enjoy my telescope a bit more instead of getting stressed all the time about making sketches. Loyal readers will know that I spend many hours on each drawing and it was getting a bit too much. 

But here I am again with an image I absolutely wanted to share: the magnificent Needle Galaxy, one of my personal favourites.

It is one of spring's highlights because it's so large and bright and because we see it almost perfectly edge-on, which always makes a galaxy look a bit more special. Other noteworthy examples are M104 and NGC891. A prominent dust lane, situated at the galaxy's edge, appears to cut across the nucleus and divide it in two nearly identical halves. Many books on astronomy use an image of this galaxy as it is generally assumed that our own galaxy looks very much like it when seen from this angle. That being said, the "Needle" is much larger, almost twice the diameter of our Milky Way! 

Distance measurements vary greatly, from 30 to even 50 million light-years, with an average of 39 million. 

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