Pictures of the Needle Galaxy
NGC 4546, also known as the Needle Galaxy, is one of the most famous edge-on galaxies as seen from Earth, offering astronomers a unique perspective.
Not all galaxies appear as beautiful spirals when seen from Earth, as anyone who has observed or photographed the Leo Triplet will be aware.
Some galaxies appear edge-on from our perspective, and one of the most famous edge-on galaxies has to be NGC 4546, also known as the Needle Galaxy.
When seen through a telescope or when photographed, the galaxy appears like a thin streak across the deep sky.
What’s most interesting about the Needle Galaxy is the thick, dark dust lane that bisects the glowing galactic core.
Edge-on galaxies may not appear as beautiful as face-on spiral galaxies, but they do offer astronomers a unique perspective.
The Needle Galaxy is about 40 million lightyears away and is about one third larger than our home galaxy the Milky Way.
Below is a selection of pictures of the Needle Galaxy captured by BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers and astrophotographers from around the world.
And if you’re already a seasoned deep-sky astrophotographer, fine-tune your processing skills with our guide to deep-sky image processing.