NGC 4169

Alt. Designations: NGC 4169, Hickson 61
Object Type: spiral galaxy
Constellation: Coma Berenices
Distance: 200 mly
Right Ascension: 12h 12m 18.7s
Declination: +29° 10´ 46"
Visual Magnitude: 12.2
Apparent Dimension: 1.8´ X 0.9´
Best Month To View: Mar

Hickson 61, sometimes called "The Box", is a very tight grouping of four galaxies that form a nearly perfect rectangle. Contained within a field of just 3.8', they all will fit into the same medium-power field. Particularly striking in the eyepiece is how the two highly elongated galaxies line up, nearly forming one long streak. The brightest member, the 13.3-magnitude Lenticular galaxy NGC 4169, can probably be glimpsed in an 8-inch. The next easiest to detect is the tiny NGC 4174, a nearly edge-on 14.5 magnitude spiral. NGC 4175 is 14.3-magnitude edge-on spiral that shows evidence of interaction with a neighbor. Finally, NGC 4173 is the largest of the four, but the most difficult. Another interacting spiral galaxy, this 13.8 magnitude galaxy has a very low mean surface brightness. It is this galaxy and the nearby NGC 4175 that together form a nearly perfect line. Interestingly, the three other galaxies all have recession velocities of around 2900 km/sec, but at 1100 km/sec NGC 4173 is receding much more slowly. Recessional velocities indicate, NGC 4173 is a foreground object not physically associated despite the coincidental evidence of interaction.