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M63: Sunflower Galaxy (WIP)


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The Sunflower Galaxy (Messier 63 or NGC 5055)

The Luminance data for an eventual L/RGB picture, so another 'work in progress' then ;-)

Too late this year for Markarian's Chain, so settled on this lovely spiral galaxy in Canes Venatici to 'get back into imaging' after a 'visual' observing break...

Not an ideal target for my wide-field set-up, but nice to see it in context I suppose... something to capture anyway whilst awaiting the 'bigger' stuff rising in the east (Cygnus and the like).

Magnitude: 9.3

Distance: A staggering 27-37 million light years away!

Size: 60,000 light years across

Consisting of a central disc surrounded by many short spiral arm segments. The Sunflower Galaxy is part of the M51 Group, a group of galaxies that also includes the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51).

The Sunflower Galaxy was discovered by Pierre Méchain on June 14, 1779. The galaxy was then listed by Charles Messier as object 63 in the Messier Catalogue.

In the mid-19th century, Lord Rosse identified spiral structures within the galaxy, making this one of the first galaxies in which such structure was identified.

In 1971, a supernova with a magnitude of 11.8 appeared in one of the arms of M63.

Loads of galaxies to be found in the frame!

Image Details:

18x 600sec subs

Takahashi FSQ106-ED + dedicated F/R @f/3.6 SBIG STF8300M

2" Hutech IDAS-V2 filter, so technically a 'filtered luminance'.

Guided with an SBIG ST-i and Skywatcher ST-80 via MicroProjects Equinox Image

Takahashi EM400 mount - controlled via MicroProjects Equinox Pro (all on a Intel 17" Apple MacBook Pro)

Preprocessed (Darks and Flat frames), aligned and stacked in Nebulosity 3.

Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5 with 'Noel's Actions' and Russell Croman's Gradient XT.

Hi-res via Astrobin here: http://astrob.in/full/41418/



Edited by TakMan
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