M94 Galaxy Group
aka CVn I GG
The CVn I Association is a loose assembly of galaxies seen in the foreground (~15 Mly) on the night sky in Canes Venatici and Coma Berenices; In that respect it is very much like the M101 Association, both being extended and weakly bound galaxy group assemblies close to our own Local Galaxy Group (with the Andromeda and Milky Way spirals), and all located on the outskirts of the Virgo Supercluster attractor.
The main gravitational centers of the CVn I association are the M94 (Croc’s Eye) Galaxy Group with 7 members, plus the smaller (4-member) and more isolated M64 (Black Eye) Galaxy Group. The M106 Galaxy Group was previously often listed as belonging to the CVn I association, but it is now classified in the more distant (~30 Mly) CVn II subgroup, which is best seen as a member of the large Ursa Major galaxy supergroup (more on this later).
I start my sweep of the CVn I galaxy association with the M94 (N4736) Galaxy Group in CVn. M94 is a face-on SA spiral with a bright elliptical nucleus embedded in an inner starburst ring inside a pair of faint outer spiral arm. This unusual “eye” structure is probably caused by resonance from the large active nucleus. In my 4” refractor at 16x (TV 41 PAN+IIT) I see M94 as a bright stellar core in a faint outer hazy halo; At higher magnification of 30x (TV21 ETH+IIT) I can detect the E-W orientation of the inner starburst ring as an elliptical nebulosity around the galaxy core (but I see no hints of the faint outer spiral structure). The M94 GG contains 6 smaller companion galaxies, including the type IB irregular Magellanic dwarf NGC 4449, also known as “The Box” galaxy. N4449 is located 5⁰ NW from M94 on our night sky, so it’s a good deal outside the 2⁰ FOV of my 41mm PAN wide field eyepiece tonight; I have however described an observation of this object (136x live video) here: https://www.cloudyni...3#entry7862392.
The M64 (N4826) Galaxy Group in Com is a little assembly with the central type-SA “Blackeye” spiral plus three smaller PGC companions (The three small PGC satellites are all outside the 2⁰ wide field FOV of my 4” refractor). At 16x (TV 41 PAN+IIT), M64 shows up as a bright stellar core (the nucleus/bulge) embedded in a fainter SE-NW oriented halo (the outer spiral arms). The M64 spiral is inclined 60⁰ to the line of sight from our Milky Way, with the nearest edge turned towards the NE, so we’re so to speak looking “up” into the spiral. At times I think I can glimpse the heavy dust lanes on the nearest (NE) edge of the galaxy, and bumping up the magnification to 30x (TV 21 ETH+IIT) makes this “Black Eye” feature quite evident! M64 has a counter-rotating core inside the flocculent spiral disc (presumably from a previous collision of two smaller spiral galaxies), -- but this kind of kinematics is of course not observable visually...