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. 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:  Vixen VC200L

Camera:  Atike 460ex w/EFW2 filter wheel

Filters:  Astrodon LRGB

Mount:  CGEM DX

Exposure:  L:R:G:B    294:84:84:84 (m)  rgb bin 2x2

Data obtained:  May 2014

Meadowlark Ridge Observatory
Meadowlark Ridge Observatory