M 63 the Sunflower Galaxy

M63 (NGC 5055) also known as the Sunflower Galaxy, was first discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1779. The galaxy was later incorporated with the number 63 in the famous catalogue of the French astronomer Charles Messier, published in 1789.

M63 is a bright spiral galaxy in the northern constellation of Canes Venatici with approximately 400 billion stars. This majestic galaxy is nearly 100,000 light-years across, which is about the size of our Milky Way.

It is located about 30 million light-years away and belongs to the M51 group (a group of galaxies that includes M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy).

The image is a deep LRGB composition with 42 hours of accumulated exposure.

The first RGB image shows my attempt to balance galaxy detail and tidal stream visibility in one image.

The second image is an inverted version with a different processing to better show the stellar or tidal stream.

The image also incorporates Hydrogen alpha data (from 6nm Astrodon filter) that was introduced in the galaxy according to the methodology described by Vicent Peris here. 

Click on the images for a full resolution version, or go to the Gallery section for complete exposure details.

Image processing: Pixinsight.

Observatory automation and remote operation with Talon6.

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