NGC 3626, mag. +10.9, is a spiral galaxy in Leo that was discovered by William Herschel on March 14, 1784. It's one of many galaxies in the constellation within the range of small scopes.
NGC 3626 is located 70 million light-years away. It covers 2.7 x 1.9 arc minutes of apparent sky, which corresponds to a spatial diameter of 55,000 light-years and is estimated to contain 40 billion stars.
Patrick Moore listed, NGC 3626, as number 40 in his Caldwell catalogue. It belongs to the NGC 3607 group of galaxies.
Finder Chart for NGC 3626 - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)
NGC 3626 is positioned 2.5 degrees southeast of Zosma (δ Leo - mag. +2.6). A trio of elliptical galaxies, consisting of NGC 3607, NGC 3608 and NGC 3605, are located 50 arc seconds west-southwest of NGC 3626. Of these, NGC 3607 is the brightest at magnitude +9.9. NGC 3608 is similar in brightness to NGC 3626. At 12th magnitude the third member, NGC 3605, is by far the faintest.
At low magnifications, NGC 3626 appears star-like through a 100mm (4-inch) refractor. Switch to averted vision and it looks somewhat fuzzy, hinting at its true non-stellar nature. A 200mm (8-inch) scope reveals a dim outer halo surrounding a small bright central core. The galaxy appears extended, but even large backyard reflectors don't significantly enhance the view.
NGC 3626 is best seen from northern latitudes during the months of March, April and May.
NGC 3626 Data Table
|Object Type||Spiral Galaxy|
|Distance (light-years)||70 Million|
|RA (J2000)||11h 20m 04s|
|DEC (J2000)||+18d 21m 24s|
|Apparent Size (arc mins)||2.7 x 1.9|
|Number of Stars||40 Billion|
|Feature||Member of the NGC 3607 Group|