Whale Galaxy (NGC 4631, Astronomy)

Background Facts:
  • Name - NGC 4631 or Whale Galaxy.
  • Appearance - looks like a fish (herring) or whale.
Astronomy Facts:
  • Spiral galaxy towards the small northern constellation Canes Venatici.
  • Seen edge-on from earth.
  • Only 25 million light-years away.
  • Similar in size to our own Milky Way.
  • Contains a central starburst, i.e. intense star formation.
  • The evidence for strong star formation comes from the detection of the emission spectrum for ionized hydrogen.
  • It is known that massive stars, that form in star formation regions, only burn hydrogen gas through fusion for a short period of time.
  • Following this initial hydrogen gas consumption the massive stars explode as supernovae.
  • There have been so many supernovae which have exploded in the center of NGC 4631 that it is blowing gas out of the plane of the galaxy producing a superwind.

Image Credit - by Anttler public domain.

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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