Celestial Atlas
NGC 4631, The Whale Galaxy Link for sharing this page on Facebook
A 9th-magnitude spiral galaxy (type SB(s)d?) in Canes Venatici (RA 12 42 08, Dec +32 32 29), discovered (1787) by William Herschel. Its recessional velocity of 605 km/sec is too small to be a reliable indicator of distance, because of the possibility of significant peculiar (non-Hubble-expansion) velocities. However, its distance based on that recessional velocity (about 27 million light years away) is in reasonable agreement with redshift-independent distance estimates of 18 to 24 million light years. Given its distance and apparent size of 15.5 by 2.7 arcmins, about 120 thousand light years in diameter. Because of its edge-on appearance and relatively near position, it is of great interest for studies of the vertical distribution of stars near spiral galaxies. The image below is a photomosaic of many individual HST images (Image Credit Hubble Legacy Archive, ESA, NASA, Processing by Nikolaus Sulzenauer)
HST image of spiral galaxy NGC 4631, the Whale Galaxy