M63 - The Sunflower Galaxy in Canes Venatici

M63 LRGB AP155

ST-10XME and CFW8a, Astrodon LRGB filter set
AP155EDF F/7
30 x 5 min Luminance, 4 x 10 min RGB for a total of 270 minutes
Self-guided on an AP900GTO mount
Acquired, Flats and Darks subtracted in CCDSoft5
Alignment, Deblooming and Sigma Clip combine in Maxim
Levels and curves in PS CS2
Sharpening via High Pass filter on the Luminance in PS CS2
Luminance layered in per Rob Gendler

April 6/7 2008
Flesherton, Ontario, Canada
Right Ascension 13 : 15.8 (h:m)
Declination +42 : 02 (deg:m)
Distance 37000 (kly)
Visual Brightness 8.6 (mag)
Apparent Dimension 10x6 (arc min)

Discovered 1779 by Pierre Méchain.

Messier 63 (M63, NGC 5055), nicknamed the Sunflower Galaxy, is a beautiful spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici.

M63 was the very first discovery of a Deep Sky Object by Charles Messier's friend, Pierre Méchain, who caught it up on June 14, 1779. On the same day, Charles Messier included it in his catalog.

The Sunflower galaxy M63 is one of the early recognized spiral galaxies, listed by Lord Rosse as one of 14 "spiral nebulae" discovered to 1850. It has been classified as of Hubble type Sb or Sc, displaying a patchy spiral pattern which can be traced well to the periphery of its only 6 arc seconds small smooth-textured central region.

Although 6 degrees south, it apparently forms a physical group with M51 and several smaller galaxies, the M51 group, which is about 37 million light years distant.