The Sunflower Galaxy (M 63)

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Clic here for 60% size 2371x1572 (630 kB)


About this Image

The Sunflower galaxy M 63 is one of the early recognized spiral galaxies, first discovered by Charles Messier's friend Pierre Mechain.
It has been classified as of Hubble type Sb or Sc galaxy. The northern part is partly obscured by the galaxy's halo, reducing the contrast in this area.

Although 6 degrees south, it apparently forms a physical group with M51 and several smaller galaxies, the M51 group, which is about 37 million light years distant. The appearance resembles symmetrical spiral arms showing up as with dark dust areas and blue star forming areas, brightening slowly from outward and then rapidly to the nuclear region. To the south a distorted huge dark lane is reporting from an encounter with another nearby galaxy. North is up left;

SUBARU close-up on the central part of M63: 1.

Technical Details


16" cassegrain in secondary focus at f/10

Mount MK-100 GEM
Camera SBIG STL-11000M at -20C, internal filter wheel,
Filters Astronomik LRGB
Date April 19-21, 2007.
Location Wildon/Austria
Sky Conditions mag 5.5 sky, FWHM 1.8-2.1" temperature 10 C
Exposure L:R:G:B = 480:120:90:120 minutes (30-minute sub-exposures).
Processing Image aquisition in Maxim DL 4.56, Preprocessing in CCDStack; Fitsliberator; Curves, high pass filter, unsharp mask, color balance in Photoshop;