Spiral Galaxy M63 (NGC 5055), type Sb, in Canes Venatici

RA 13:15.8 (h:m); DEC +42:02 (deg:m); Distance 37 million light years;
Visual Brightness 8.6 (mag); Apparent Dimension 10x6 (arc min)

M63 was the very first discovery of a Deep Sky object by Messier's friend, Pierre Méchain, who caught it up on June 14, 1779. On the same day, Charles Messier included it in his catalog.

The Sunflower galaxy M63 is one of the early recognized spiral galaxies, listed by Lord Rosse as one of 14 "spiral nebulae" discovered to 1850. It has been classified as of Hubble type Sb or Sc, displaying a patchy spiral pattern which can be traced well to the periphery of its only 6 arc seconds small smooth-textured central region.

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 spiral arms show up as a grainy background, which brightens slowly from outward and then rapidly to the nuclear region, which is still grainy. Star forming regions can be traced all along the spiral arms on my colour image.

Source and more: SEDS


April 9, 2007 23:18 - 23:44 UT.
Imaged with LX200 10-inch f/10 telescope with 0.33 Focal Reducer and filterwheel operating at f/4.92 [focal length 1230mm], Astronomik LRGB filters; ATK16IC b/w camera, K3CCDTools.
Exposures: Luminosity 8x90s; RGB 3x45s 2xbinned; autoguided with SC3 camera on William Optics Zenithstar 80 ED II APO.

April 5, 2007 21:05 - 21:56 UT.
Imaging: William Optics Zenithstar 80 ED II APO, f/6.8 [focal length 545 mm].
Astronomik LRGB filters; ATK16IC b/w camera, K3CCDTools.
Exposures: Luminosity 10x120s; RGB 5x60s 2xbinned; autoguided with SC3 camera on LX200.

April 5, 2006 00:13 - 00:33 UT.
Imaged with LX200 10-inch f/10 telescope with 0.33 Focal Reducer operating at f/4.06 [focal length 1015mm], Vesta Pro-SC3a b/w RAW mode, Baader Infra Red Blocking Filter.
30 autoguided exposures of 40 seconds.


April 23, 2004 22:37 - 22:50 UT.