NGC 4216

NGC 4216

Spiral Galaxy
NGC 4216
12H 15.9m +13° 9'

Magnitude: 10
Size: 7.9' × 1.7'
Distance: 55 million light-years

NGC 4216

Requires intermediate skills

Skill Level
NGC 4216 needs good tracking and processing skills in order to capture sufficient detail.

MayBest Month
May is the best month to capture NGC 4216.

Recommended Equipment
Use a rich-field Newtonian if you want to capture the two fainter edge-on galaxies that bracket NGC 4216.

An SCT is good for capturing a close up showing intricate detail.


Image Stats
Meade 8" SN LXD75
Meade DSI Pro III
Meade RGB + IR filters

LRGB 224:24:32:60 minutes respectively. 4-minute subs; binned 2×2 for RGB. 

Average to good transparency
9, 13, 16 April 2010
San Mateo, CA

This underappreciated edge-on galaxy, beautifully framed by two smaller and fainter look-alikes, is much more photogenic than I expected. NGC 4216 is only slightly fainter than much more popular NGC 891, but because it is 50% smaller, it actually appears brighter. And though almost a full magnitude fainter, it is about the same size as the uber-popular M65 (which, to my eyes, does not have the pleasing symmetry of NGC 4216).

May has an abundance of beautiful galaxies; M51, M104, and NGC 4565 are some of the most awe-inspiring galaxies of any month. While NGC 4216 is not quite up to those standards, it has a unique beauty of its own. A visit to it will not be unrewarded.

NGC 4222, NGC 4216, and NGC 4206

Imaging Notes

NGC 4216 is not as hard to capture as its magnitude would suggest; even its two fainter companions are easily in reach of modest equipment. Nevertheless, more exposure time is always better, especially to minimize noise in the faint halo that surrounds the galaxy.

The central dust lane and the area near the core are bright enough to take some aggressive sharpening.

Remember that galaxies are not solid objects. Keep the edges diffuse so they appear to almost glow. In post-processing I often layer a heavily blurred, white silhouette the same shape as the galaxy and set its opacity at 10% or less. This brightens the entire galaxy and gives it a softer look.

More Images

NGC 4216 by D. Chris Cole

D. Chris Cole

Celestron C9.25 f/6.3 — CanonXT — RGB 173.3 minutes (200 second subs)

NGC 4216 by Jason V. Rhodes

Jason V. Rhodes

ED 80 Pro Skywatcher  — Atik 16HR — L 135 (5-minute subs)

NGC 4216 by Jim Thommes

Jim Thommes

Celestron C8 f/4.8 — Artemis285 — LRGB 50:18:18:18 (5- and 2.5-minute subs)

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