Spiral galaxy NGC 4631

Spiral galaxy NGC 4631

R820/0369

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Caption

Spiral galaxy NGC 4631. Coloured optical image of the edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 4631, one of the largest spiral galaxies known. It lies around 27 million light years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici, The Hunting Dogs. It is also known as the Whale or Herring galaxy. The fuzzy glow at upper centre is the small companion galaxy NGC 4627. This elliptical galaxy orbits NGC 4631 and is thought to be slightly distorting it. This image was taken by the 4-metre telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, USA.

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