M 63

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Observation place
New Mexico


TelescopeTakahashi Epsilon 250 - 10 “, 850mm FL @ f / 3.4
MountParamount ME
Imaging cameraSBIG ST10XME - Non Anti Bloomin Gate (NABG) regulated at -10o Celsius
Image typeLHa (RHaVsB) (Vs for synghetic green)
LHa: Luminance using the clear filter + the Ha filter
RHa: Red layer using red filter + Ha filter
This composition was used to bring out emission nebulae in the galaxy
ExhibitionLuminance (8 x 5 'bin 1 × 1), Ha (9 x 5' bin 1 × 1) R (10 x 1 'bin 2 × 2) and B (9 x 1' bin 2 × 2)
PretreatmentMaxim DL
TreatmentPhotoshop and PixInsight
Specific treatmentCreate a synthetic green image

Object description

Object typeSpiral galaxy "The Sunflower galaxy"
ConstellationHunting dogs
Visual magnitude 8,52
Surface gloss13,22
Distance26,1 million light years
Diameter90000 light years
Dimension seen from Earth12 ′ 36 "x 7 ′ 12" of arc
The spiral galaxy M63 is also called the Sunflower Galaxy, by its resemblance to the flower bearing this name. It is located in the constellation Hounds. It is 26,1 million light-years away from Earth and its diameter is 90000 light-years. It was discovered in 1779 by Pierre Méchain, and classified the same year by Charles Messier in his catalog. In 1971, a supernova (explosion of a star at the end of its life) of magnitude 11,8 appeared in an arm of M63.

The Sunflower galaxy is one of the earliest recognized spiral galaxies. It appears 6 degrees from the Tourbillon galaxy (M51). It contains billions of stars and planets, like the billions of galaxies that inhabit our universe. It is therefore a place conducive to the creation of life.

In a low light pollution sky, the Sunflower Galaxy can be seen through binoculars, but it appears as a small hazy spot of light or a fuzzy star. Small telescopes reveal that it is a galaxy, but do not show the details of its structure. Spiral arms can only be seen in telescopes of 203 mm (8 inches) and larger.

In my image, which was taken in a sky without light pollution (in New Mexico), we can appreciate the very great beauty of the galaxy. In order to bring out the star formation regions (places where there are emission nebulae), I integrated a Hydrogen-Alpha filter in my series of images, which made it possible to bring out these regions that appear in red tones in the image.

We can also see another galaxy in my image (right side up). This is the galaxy UGC 8313. It has a low magnitude of 14,78. Its apparent size (as seen from Earth) is only 1,6 x 0,5 arc minutes, compared to the Moon which is about 30 arc minutes. Its physical diameter is approximately 19 light years. It is about 000 million light years from Earth.
Richard Beauregard
Sky Astro - CCD
My impression "We cannot be alone in this gigantic universe"