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Harel Boren | all galleries >> Galaxies > M63 NGC 5055 The Sunflower Galaxy in Canes Venatici
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M63 NGC 5055 The Sunflower Galaxy in Canes Venatici
March 26, 2009 Harel Boren

M63 NGC 5055 The Sunflower Galaxy in Canes Venatici

Km. 101, Eastern Negev Desert, Israel

Canon XSi, modded, 22 x 2 min., ISO 800
LXD75-SN10 OTA, Baader MPCC, EQ6 mount, guided w/PHD and EQMOD

M 63 (the "Sunflower Galaxy") was Pierre Mechain's very first discovery, made on June 14, 1779, and was included by Charles Messier in his catalog on that same day.

The galaxy lies 37 million light years from earth and is probably a part the M51 group of galaxies. It shines at a magnitude of 8.3, and has a surface brightness of 12.5. The galaxy on the left of M63 in this image is UGC8365 (mag. 14.5). The on the right is and UGC8313 (mag. 14.6) which is also a member of the M51 group of galaxies.

As opposed to many spiral galaxies, M63's arms are not as well defined (though seen very well in this image) but are full of patches of star forming regions, which have a grainy appearance. Such galaxies are called flocculent, or "wooly" galaxies, and the similarity to a "wooly" texture is obvious.

The Type I supernova 1971I occurred in M63 on May 25, 1971, reaching magnitude 11.8.

Finally, I was particularly happy to discover that the black line on the galaxies left-bottom side (in this image) is not any noise in my image, but probably part of the galaxy structure (as shown in this image in this DSS image: http://seds.org/~spider/ngc/ngcdss.cgi?obj=NGC!5055!=!M63&r=13:15.8&d=+42:02&e=J2000&h=14.76&w=14.76&f=GIF&c=none

The information above was compiled from http://seds.org/messier/m/m063.html, http://www.macalester.edu/astronomy/research/phys20/p20-2004/m63/info.html, http://www.ursa.fi/yhd/sirius/rade/html2/cvngalxy.htm, and Brian Peterson's http://www.pbase.com/bkpeterson/image/78008761


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