NGC 4490

Click on image for larger version.

This pair of galaxies often goes by the nickname of the "Cocoon Galaxy." Each "blob" is actually a spiral galaxy that has been distorted by the other. Hints of spiral structure are still evident in the smaller galaxy. These galaxies have already passed their closest approach (perigalacticon) and are now speeding away from each other. A tail of stars stretches between the galaxies which are separated by at least 24,000 light years. All of this action takes place 40-50 million light years away. These interacting galaxies make a good real-world example for astronomers to compare computer models (simulations) of galactic collisions. Note the incredible number of starforming regions that have developed along facing sides of each galaxy.


20in RC Optical Systems telescope operating at f/8.4
Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount
SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel
L R G B color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = 90 minutes binned 1x1
Red = 20 minutes binned 2x2
Green = 20 minutes binned 2x2
Blue = 20 minutes binned 2x2

  • One iteration of L-R deconvolution (sharpening) algorithm using CCDsharp was applied to the luminance image.

  • Digital Development (DDP) via Maxim/DL was also used in order to display the the very dim and very bright details of the image simultaneously.

  • Minimum credit line: Michael Gariepy/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF

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    Updated: 2/15/2004