Messier 63, the Sunflower Galaxy   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici

The many bright knots in its arms, surrounding a small and bright nucleus, give the Sunflower Galaxy its name.

Two unusual features can be seen in this image. First, toward the bottom edge of the galaxy is a long and seemingly staight dark bar. It is probably a combination of several dust lanes, but it seems out of place because it does not follow the spiral pattern of the galaxy's arms. Second, on the right edge of the galaxy (below and to the right of the bright foreground star) are two dim projections that look almost like "antennae." These also seem at odds with the galaxy's overall spiral structure.

Magnitude 8.6
Apparent Size 12' x 8'
Distance (light yrs) 23 million
Right Ascension 13:15.8
Declination +42 02
Field of View 29' x 22'

Image details:  Exposure times of 20 minutes luminance and 10 minutes each of red, green, and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M camera through a Meade 14” LX850 telescope at f/6.

June 2014