Deep Sky Astrophotography by Barry Wilson

Current Projects: (1) Messier 63 The Sunflower Galaxy

(1) Messier 63 The Sunflower Galaxy

It was a joint project with Steve to image M63 from our home observatories back in Spring 2017 that cemented the idea of us partnering in a shared remote observatory. So this image has a lot to answer for, especially from my wallet! It is such a splendid galaxy target . . . and it has been a real treat to image it once again and to capture its elusive faint outer warped halo, referred to below.

From Wikipedia: "Messier 63 or M63, also known as NGC 5055 or the seldom-used Sunflower Galaxy, is a spiral galaxy in the northern constellation of Canes Venatici. M63 was first discovered by the French astronomer Pierre Méchain then later verified by his colleague Charles Messier on June 14, 1779. The galaxy became listed as object 63 in the Messier Catalogue. In the mid-19th century, Anglo-Irish astronomer Lord Rosse identified spiral structures within the galaxy, making this one of the first galaxies in which such structure was identified. This galaxy has a morphological classification of SAbc, indicating a spiral shape with no central bar feature and moderate to loosely wound arms. There is a general lack of large scale continuous spiral structure in visible light, a galaxy form known as flocculent. However, when observed in the near infrared a symmetric, two-arm structure becomes apparent. Each arm wraps 150° around the galaxy and extends out to 13 kly (4 kpc) from the nucleus. . . . Radio observations at 21-cm show the gaseous disk of M63 extending outward to a radius of 40 kpc (130 kly), well past the bright optical disk. This gas shows a symmetrical form that is warped in a pronounced manner, starting at a radius of 10 kpc (33 kly). The form suggests the dark matter halo of the galaxy is offset with respect to the inner region. The reason for the warp is unclear, but the position angle points toward the smaller companion galaxy, UGC 8313."

TEC 140 at F7; 10 Micron GM2000HPS II UP; QSI690wsg-8; Astrodon filters; 3nm Ha 29 x 1200s; Lum 51 x 600s and 24 x 1200s; RGB 24 x 600s each channel; 38.2 hrs total integration. E-Eye Extremadura, Spain . May - June 2019.

Data acquisition: Barry Wilson & Steve Milne. Processing: Barry Wilson


I have been fascinated with astronomy since childhood ever since I read Patrick Moore's "The Observer's Book of Astronomy" and became a devotee of BBC's "The Sky at Night". This website aims to display what can be achieved by an amateur astrophotographer in their backgarden - Totnes, Devon, UK, in my case - equiped with dedication, patience and perseverance, especially from my family!  I also share a remote observatory in Spain with Steve Milne, equiped with our own equipment, setup by ourselves and jointly operated and controlled.

Clear Skies!

Barry Wilson

© Barry Wilson 2019.

All images on this website are not to be reproduced or used without permission.

Nebulae images

IC 2177 The Seagull Nebula

IC 2177 The Seagull Nebula

This is a 'work in progress' image as we gather the data for a HOORGB image which will take a couple of seasons to gather the necessary data. The four panels have the minimum data really to produce this test image and we do in fact have two further panels for a row across the bottom of the image but as yet no data! This target is low even at e-Eye's latitude and so imaging in the turbulent lower atmosphere we are relieved to see little distortion and refraction effects on the RGB channels for the stars.

I have wanted to image this very pretty target for some time and am delighted we have persevered sufficiently for an HaRGB image. So I am pleased to add my version to the many fine Seagull (or Parrot) Nebula images posted recently.

From Wikipedia: "C 2177 is a region of nebulosity that lies along the border between the constellations Monoceros and Canis Major. It is a roughly circular H II region centered on the Be star HD 53367. This nebula was discovered by Welsh amateur astronomer Isaac Roberts and was described by him as "pretty bright, extremely large, irregularly round, very diffuse." The name Seagull Nebula is sometimes applied by amateur astronomers to this emission region, although it more properly includes the neighboring regions of star clusters, dust clouds and reflection nebulae. This latter region includes the open clusters NGC 2335 and NGC 23."

Tak FSQ106; 10 Micron GM1000HPS; QSI683wsg-8; Astrodon filters; Ha 36 x 1200s; RGB 24 x 600s each channel each panel; 28 hrs total integration. E-Eye Extremadura, Spain. January to February 2019.

Data acquisition: Barry Wilson & Steve Milne.
Processing: Barry Wilson.