101 Must Know Things The Cosmic: The Galaxy Needle

Viewers love to see face-on spiral galaxies. There’s something interesting about seeing a disk of light with a sharp detail and beautiful twisted hands that have millions of stars thrown at your face. But the edge-on spirals offer a different look, and some observers enjoy them just as much. The best example in space is the Needle Galaxy (NGC 4565), seen by William Herschel in 1785.

NGC 4565 is located in the constellation Coma Berenices, 3 ° southeast of the magnitude 4.3 Gamma (γ) Comae Berenices. It is the second brightest member of the Coma I Group, located in two galaxies and could contain up to 20 new members. The center of this group is about 47 million light years old.

The Galaxy Needle shines at size 9.6 and is easily seen through an 8-inch screen or more. It’s not accurate because its plane is rising about 3.5 ° in our line of sight, but it’s close. The photos show its length-to-width ratio of about 8-to-1, but the visual limits are that it can be seen five times longer than its width.

The center of the galaxy appears to be a small cluster. Today, astronomers have used the Spitzer Space Telescope to study the Needle in infrared waves. They saw that its middle lump was a kind of box, that is, it wasn’t a lump, but a wall.

At higher powers, you can probably see the dirt path running at NGC 4565 the entire length. It is much easier to choose the teacher. If you’re using a 14-inch space, look to the ¼ ° southwest for one of the Needle’s partner galaxies, NGC 4562. At 14th magnitude, it’s a hard catch.

A final note of caution: If you’re star -flying in this galaxy before using a walking car, don’t confuse the Galaxy Needle with the Silver Needle Galaxy (NGC 4244). It is located 12.5 ° northwest and is in the constellation Canes Venatici the Hunting Dogs.


Be sure to be careful Astronomy’s full list of 101 cosmic objects you can see. New ones will be added every week in 2022.

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