M63 – Sunflower Galaxy

Discovered first by Pierre Mechain on June 14, 1779, and then included into Charles Messier’s catalog the same day. This was the first Deep Space Object that Messier’s friend, Pierre, had discovered. M63 was one of the first early recognized spiral galaxies. This galaxy is joined in a group of several small galaxies about 6° north of it in the M51 group.

The box marks the location of M63

The box marks the location of M63

Although this galaxy has a visual brightness of 8.6 magnitude I found it a little tricky to pinpoint. I used stars from Ursa Major and Canes Venatici to estimate where to aim the scope and then I had to do a bit of sweeping around with the scope to find it. Visually from where I am it wasn’t much more than a round fuzzy which was mainly the core and a little bit of the spiral disk. This picture brings out a lot more detail than I would have thought this galaxy had.

M63 – The Sunflower Galaxy. 05-05-13

32 images at 2 minutes a piece, ISO 800, and 24 dark frames. Stacked in deep sky stacker and post processing done in Photoshop.

Equipment:
Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Modded Canon 350D
T-ring and adapter
Intervalometer
Polar Scope for alignment