Edge-on Spiral Galaxy NGC 4565 in Coma Berenices

Edge-on Spiral Galaxy NGC 4565

A 130 minute exposure with an STL-1301E CCD camera thru Kopernik's 20-inch F/8.1 Ritchey Chretien Cassegrain telescope working at F/5. The field of view is about 22x22 arc minutes.

Quote from Burnham's Celestial Handbook:

The largest of the edgewise spiral galaxies, and undoubtedly the most famous object of its type........ NGC 4565 is an interesting object for the small telescope, and appears as a bright narrow streak in a good 6-inch telescope. With a 10-inch and dark skies it is a perfect little needle of light which can be traced out to nearly its full photographic diameter of 15 arc minutes......... The very small bright nucleus is mentioned in the NGC catalog as a "central star". Lord Rosse (1855) described the system as "a beautiful object, very well seen in the finding eyepiece; the whole nebula is much broader at nucleus than elsewhere, narrowing off suddenly, and the nucleus projects forward into the dark space".

NGC 4565, seen edge-on, has dark bands of absorbing matter that are a standard feature of spiral galaxies. A similar absorption lane in our own Galaxy is undoubtedly the cause of the "Great Rift" in the Milky Way. Some astronomers believe that the small bright star-like nucleus is a an Active Galactic Nucleus of the Seyfert type.

The galaxy on the lower right of the image above is NGC 4562, classified as an edge-on spiral galaxy. At 73 million light years it is much further away than NGC 4565.

George Normandin, KAS

June 21st, 2010