Caldwell 38 – Needle Galaxy

The Needle Galaxy is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation Coma Berenices, reaching its annual culmination at astronomical midnight around end March.

The Needle Galaxy, also known as NGC 4565, is a prominent edge-on spiral galaxy approximately 57 million light-years from Earth. It is considered one of the finest examples of an edge-on spiral galaxy, showcasing a thin, elongated structure with a central bulge. The galaxy’s distinct appearance has earned it the nickname “Needle Galaxy” due to its needle-like shape. NGC 4565 is notable for its well-defined dust lanes and prominent nuclear bulge.

Catalog numbers and names

  • Caldwell: C38
  • UGC: UGC 7772
  • NGC: NGC 4565

Position and the cosmic neighborhood

The Needle Galaxy is located in the constellation Coma Berenices, which lies in the northern sky. It is part of the Coma-Virgo cluster of galaxies, a large and densely populated region of the universe. Nearby, one can find other notable galaxies such as the Coma Cluster and the galaxy NGC 4559. This area of the sky is rich with various types of galaxies.


  • The Needle Galaxy is one of the most famous edge-on spiral galaxies.
  • It has a well-defined central bulge and extensive dust lanes along its disk.
  • NGC 4565 was discovered by William Herschel in 1785.

Brightness, distance and size

The Needle Galaxy has an apparent magnitude of 12.4, making it visible with medium-sized telescopes under dark skies. It lies at a distance of approximately 57 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy spans about 100,000 light-years in diameter, similar to the size of the Milky Way. In the night sky, NGC 4565 appears with an angular size of roughly 15.9 by 1.85 arcminutes.