NGC 4618 and NGC 4625 -- Galaxies in Canes Venatici
NGC 4618 is a barred spiral galaxy less than 2 degrees west of the Croc’s Eye Galaxy
The charm of NGC 4618 is that it appears doubled. It is a single galaxy but has a bright
star-forming region south of the nucleus, making it appear double when the lighter
extended parts of the galaxy cannot be seen.
The reason for NGC 4618’s double-distortion is due to the gravitational interaction with
the smaller galaxy, NGC 4625, above it. In the 6-inch refractor the double parts of NGC
4618 are doable from my suburban backyard but seeing the fainter sections of the galaxy
are only hinted at – even on the best of nights.
NGC 4625, at mag 12.3, is near the limit of visibility and becomes a reality only on the
best of nights in the 6-inch from the backyard. A little additional magnification is helpful.
The next time you visit the Croc’s Eye Galaxy, take a few additional minutes and check
out the nearby Double Galaxy and its faint companion. It is time worth spent.