M63 _ The Sunflower Galaxy

The constellation Canes Venetici holds many celestial wonders and one of the most beautiful is M63 - commonly called the Sunflower Galaxy. M63 is classified as a flocculent spiral galaxy - meaning it consists of a central disc surrounded by many short spiral arm segments in contrast to galaxies connected by a central bar structure.  For galaxies like Messier 63 the winding arms shine bright because of the presence of recently formed, blue–white giant stars.


Astronomers have learned that it acts gravitationally with the Whirlpool Galaxy and that its outer regions are spinning so rapidly that if it weren't for dark matter it would literally rip itself apart. The Sunflower Galaxy is estimated to be around 98,000 light years across and 27 million light years from earth.


OTA:  Skywatcher Esprit 120

Camera: Atik 460ex w/EFW2 filter wheel

Filters:  Astrodon Series 2 LRGB

Mount:  Astro Physics Mach 1

Exposure:  L:R:G:B   390:80:90:115 (m) 

Data Obtained:  March - April 2021

Meadowlark Ridge Observatory
Meadowlark Ridge Observatory