M63 – The Sunflower Galaxy

The magnificent spiral galaxy M63 in Canes Venatici

M63 is a magnificent spiral galaxy located in the Northern constellation of Canes Venatici, about 30 million light years away.  The galaxy is a member of the M51 group.  There are lots of faint galaxies in the background.

M63 Completed TEC 140 Atik 460
M63 - The Sunflower Galaxy

Technical Data

Full resolution image here (opens in new tab)

M63, often called the Sunflower Galaxy because of its resemblance to that flower, is a spiral galaxy about 27 million light years away in the constellation of Canes Venatici.  It is a member of the M51 group of galaxies.

I captured the data for this image of the galaxy from my back yard observatory in Nottingham, UK over the nights of 4th and 5th of May 2021 when M63 was high near the zenith.  Most of the data was captured in the middle of the night on an automated basis whilst I was asleep in bed!  I used my TEC140 refractor and Atik 460 CCD camera with Astrodon E Series LRGB filters.  I used off-axis guiding on my MESU200 mount.

Integration is a total of nine hours comprised of:

Luminance > 30 x 300s binned 1×1 ; Red > 22 x 300s 1×1 ; Green > 24 x 300s 1×1 ; Blue > 24 x 300s 1×1  to give a total of about 8.5 hours of integration time.  Captured with SGP pro and processed in PixInsight.

M63 Annotated
Annotated Image
M63 Inverted TEC140
Inverted Image

Annotated and inverted versions of the galaxy shown above.  The annotated version shows the many, extremely distant background galaxies present in the image, some of which are billions of lightyears away.

M63 FindingChart
Finder Chart

The finder chart to the left shows the location of the galaxy.

The image at the top of this page is 42 arc-minutes in width and 32 arc-minutes in height at an image scale of 0.927 arc-seconds/pixel.

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