NGC 4449 is a bright (B = 9.5), nearby (4 Mpc) irregular galaxy with a high surface brightness and strong star-formation activity; for photos see Hunter and Gallagher (1989). Using the Effelsberg 100-meter dish, van Woerden et al. (1975) - and later also Bajają et al. (1994) - found its HI distribution to extend, at the level 2 × 1019 atoms cm-2 over a full degree, or ten times the D25 diameter. Van Woerden et al. also mentioned that the HI velocity gradient in this outer disk was opposite to that measured at Westerbork over the innermost 4 arcminutes.
With the VLA D-array, we have used a mosaic of 3 × 3 pointings to map the HI at resolutions of 1.0’ and 10 kms-1 over a field (FWHM) of 1° diameter (Hunter et al. 1998). The HI distribution (Fig. 1) shows the following features: 1) a bright inner body, centred on the optical galaxy and dominated by an annulus of 5 kpc diameter; 2) a symmetric elliptical - probably highly inclined - disk of 35 × 15 kpc diameter, with strong condensations at its NE and SW ends; 3) a set of narrow streamers, consisting of straight segments making abrupt angles, and containing several bright clouds. The HI mass in the inner body and elliptical disk together is 12 × 10s Mʘ the streamers (about 7 × 108 Mʘ of HI) are surrounded by a diffuse HI distribution, missed by the VLA interferometers but detected by the Effelsberg single-dish.