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Brian Peterson | all galleries >> Canon Digital Camera Images 2007-2009 > NGC 4565 -- The Flying Saucer Galaxy
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NGC 4565 -- The Flying Saucer Galaxy
May 19, 2007

NGC 4565 -- The Flying Saucer Galaxy

This image was chosen as Astronomy.com "Picture of the Day" June 3, 2008.


It is easy to see why this galaxy gets its nickname (it is also
sometimes called the "needle galaxy", but it looks more like the
old movie version of a flying saucer). It is a classic example of
a spiral galaxy seen along the plane of its spiral arms. The central
bulge is characterized by older, yellow stars, while the arms are
marked by younger, bluer stars. Lanes of dust collect along the arms,
and block some of the light all along the width of the galaxy. This
spiral galaxy is about 100,000 light years in diameter, making it very
similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy. If you are lucky enough to live near
dark skies and see the stars of the "Milky Way" clearly, you'll notice a
dark lane (especially between the constellations Cygnus and Sagittarius
during the northern hemisphere's summer) which is similar to the dark
lane across NGC 4565. This galaxy is 31 million light years away, and is
located in the constellation Coma Berenices. As is true for almost anywhere
one looks in this part of the sky, several other galaxies are visible in this image.

Image data:
Camera: Canon 350XT (modified)
Exposure: ISO 800, 5 minutes x 16
Telescope: 10" Schmidt-Newtonian, Baader coma corrector


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