NGC 4490 Cocoon Galaxy
Taken from DGRO Rancho Hidalgo Animas, New Mexico
14.5" RCOS F8, Apogee U16M High Cooling
Luminance 540, Red 220, Green 180, Blue 260,
Calibrated,combined in CCD Stack all other processing done using PS5.
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.