M63 - Sunflower Galaxy


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M63 - Sunflower Galaxy: The Sunflower Galaxy is around 25 million light-years distant, in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is almost 100,000 light-years across -- the same size as our own Milky Way Galaxy. It is part of the M51 group, which also contains Messier Object 51 and a number of smaller galaxies. (http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m063.html)

Messier: 63
NGC: 5055
Right Ascension: 13h 15.8m
Declination: 42° 02"
Apparent Magnitude: 8.6

Date: August 2011
Equipment: Meade 10" LX200 Schmidt Cassegrain
SBIG ST10XE

Exposure: Lum: 4x15 min binned 1x1
R:G:B 5x5 min binned 2x2
Processing Notes: Data acquisition in CCDSoft. Image reduction and alignment in CCDStack. Subframes combined in Sigma Beta. Arcsine stretch import of luminance FIT file into Photoshop. Levels and curves. RGB combined in AstroArt. Adjusted curves and levels, and reduced noise of RGB. L was combined with RGB using three layers: Luminance on the bottom; RGB as a multiply(30%) layer; and RGB as a color layer on top. Final adjustment and tweak in Photoshop. Noise reduction and mild smoothing on dim areas and mild sharpening on brighter areas.
Scale: ~1.6"/pixel

Links to images of this object on other sites:
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080417.html
http://www.noao.edu/outreach/aop/observers/m63.html

Additional Comments: This is one of the few images in 2011 using the 10" scope while the 16" scope was being repaired. Data acquisition by Adam Baker, processing by Charles Hakes. Previous FLC versions of this image is here:
2008: http://www.fortlewis.edu/observatory/image_detail.asp?ID=70

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