Messier 63 (Sunflower Galaxy)
Size: 10 x 6'
Distance: 37 million light years
RA: 13h 15.8m
Dec: 42 degrees 02'
M63 is a beautiful, highly textured spiral galaxy in Canes Venatici.
It was discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1779, who was one of
Messier's friends. This is a relatively bright but small galaxy
for a 4" scope, but there's still a good deal of detail to be seen on
the higher resolution
view. More information about M63
may be found here.
Date: May 1,
FS-102 at f6 with TOA-130 focal reducer, on the G11 Losmandy
Autoguider: SBIG STV with
Exposures: 20 x 5' each; Total
exposure duration 100 minutes.
Conditions: Temperature 50 degrees F; average to poor
transparency; average seeing; cloudy for part of the session, high thin
clouds for the rest. I almost gave up but managed to get in 100
minutes of decent subexposures.
Post-processing: No darks,
although bias-subtracted flats were used for this image.
Calibration done in ImagesPlus. Drizzle combined with coefficient
sampling of 1.2 in IRIS.
performed in ImagesPlus. Subsequent
levels and curves adjustments in Photoshop CS (16 bit format).
Final sharpening done with high pass filtering. I did not
dither the subs during image acquisition. The slight subpixel
drift between exposures appears to satisfy the needs of the drizzle
note: Graphics on this website may not be reproduced without
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