Galaxies & Star Clusters - Barry Wilson
Messier 63 The Sunflower Galaxy

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