Astral Imaging at Dogwood Ridge Observatory

Latitude: 3748'51.0" N"
Scottsville, Virginia 24590


(click on thumbnails to go to that image's page)






M63/NGC5055 RGB

Image Information

Quoted from SEDS:

Discovered 1779 by Pierre Méchain.

Messier 63 (M63, NGC 5055), nicknamed the Sunflower Galaxy, is a beautiful spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici.

M63 was the very first discovery of a Deep Sky Object by Charles Messier's friend, Pierre Méchain, who caught it up on June 14, 1779. On the same day, Charles Messier included it in his catalog.

The Sunflower galaxy M63 is one of the early recognized spiral galaxies, listed by Lord Rosse as one of 14 "spiral nebulae" discovered to 1850. It has been classified as of Hubble type Sb or Sc, displaying a patchy spiral pattern which can be traced well to the periphery of its only 6 arc seconds small smooth-textured central region.

Although 6 degrees south, it apparently forms a physical group with M51 and several smaller galaxies, the M51 group, which is about 37 million light years distant.

The visual appearance resembles the photo: The spiral arms show up as a grainy background, which brightens slowly from outward and then rapidly to the nuclear region, which is still grainy. Star forming regions can be traced all along the spiral arms on color photos.

Type I supernova 1971I occurred on May 25, 1971, and reached mag 11.8.




M63 RGB 

M63/NGC5055 RGB

1600         2000


  M63 L+RGB

M63/NGC5055 L+RGB












This image consists of 19 Red, 17 Green, and 16 Blue images all taken at -30C at bin 2x2 for 10 minutes each. All data used totals just over 8.66 hours. All data was acquired using MaxImDl/CCD version 5.24 using ACP7.1.  Pix Insight version 1.8 was used for processing. Dithered guiding was on.

This is a straight RGB reprocess of the original data and all images used were measured at 3" arc seconds or better. About 3/4 of the images taken were used. In the previous image I used HDR Wavelets on the luminance data only before combining the RGB image with the luminance. On this process I did use HDR Wavelets on the RGB image.

What amazed me was the number of background galaxies in the image. The gray scale image probably shows them best but also reveals the irregular shaped stars on the outermost edges because of not using a flattener.

Equipment and Location Information

Date March 5-7, 2014
Location Dogwood Ridge Observatory
Optics Optical Guidance Systems 12.5" RC @f/9
Mount Astro Physics AP1200GTO
Camera SBIG STL-11000M/FW10/
Filters Baader LRGB Ha 7nm,SII 8nm, OIII 8.5nm - 50.8mm Unmounted Filters
Conditions Temperature low to mid 20s with moderate to good  seeing. Transparency good to moderate.

  Last Modified :10/02/12 01:10 PM