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NGC 4565 The Needle Galaxy

The galaxy pictured here is NGC 4565, which for observable reasons is also called the Needle Galaxy and also known as Caldwell 38. First spotted in 1785 by Uranus' discoverer, Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), this is one of the most well-known example of an edge-on spiral galaxy and is located some 30 to 50 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices (Berenice's Hair).

It shows a bright yellowish central bulge that juts out above most impressive dust lanes. Because it is relatively close (it is only 12 times farther away than Messier 31, the Andromeda galaxy, which is the major galaxy nearest to us) and relatively large (roughly one third larger than the Milky Way), it does not fit completely into the field of view of the FORS instrument (about 7 x 7 arcmin2).

Many background galaxies are also visible in this FORS image, giving full meaning to their nickname of "island universes".
NG4565 - Galaxy in Coma of Berenice

NGC 4565 is a gigantic spiral galaxy brighter than the Andromeda Galaxy. Much assumption exists in the literature as to the nature of the central bulge. In the absence of clear-cut dynamical data on the movement of stars in the bulge, the photometric data alone cannot rule among various options put forth. However, its exponential form proposed that it is a barred spiral galaxy.

 Research with the help of the Spitzer Space Telescope not only confirmed the occurrence of a central bar but also exposed a pseudo bulge within it as well as an inner ring. NGC 4565 has at least 2 satellite galaxies, one of which is interacting with it. It has a population of approximately 240 spherical clusters, more than our own galaxy Milky Way.

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