NGC 4656

Spiral Galaxy NGC 4656 (= H I.176), type Sc pec in Canes Venatici

[NGC 4656, M. Purcell]
Right Ascension 12 : 44.0 (h:m)
Declination +32 : 10 (deg:m)
Distance 30,000 (kly)
Visual Brightness 10.4 (mag)
Apparent Dimension 13.8 x 3.3 (arc min)

Discovered by William Herschel in 1787.

NGC 4656 is a large spiral galaxy, which is significantly distorted by the interaction with its large neighbor NGC 4631. Rich field telescopes and large binoculars show both galaxies in the same field. The bright knot on the East of this galaxy has been assigned the separate NGC number NGC 4657 (as William Herschel had cataloged it separately as H I.177); some sources say this is a companion to the galaxy. Beyond the knot, this galaxy "curves up" as a result of distortion. A bridge of hydrogene gas is connecting both galaxies.

Our image was obtained by Michael Purcell, taken with a Meade 10" f/6.3 SC telescope and ST-7 CCD camera, exposed 15 minutes, on April 25, 1997 at 22:37:41.

In the SAC 110 best NGC object list. No. 65 in the RASC Finest NGC Objects list.

  • NED data of NGC 4656
  • SIMBAD Data of NGC 4656
  • Observing Reports for NGC 4656 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)

    Hartmut Frommert (
    Christine Kronberg (

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    Last Modification: 22 Mar 1998, 21:10 MET