M63, The Sunflower Galaxy

February 26th-27th was the third clear sky in 1 week and close to new moon. Miracles do exist in these wet and windy regions! Even though it was the middle of the working week, I just had to take advantage of the weather conditions so I set up my gear and let it run for a couple of hours. The next morning I had a folder filled with some stuff to play with. So here’s the result.
M63, nicknamed the Sunflower Galaxy, is a bright galaxy in Canes Venatici which was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1779. Méchain was a co-worker of Charles Messier and entered the newly found object as number 63 in the famous Messier catalogue. Lots of small background galaxies can be found within this image, some of them very close to M63: Two small edge-on background galaxies are visible southwest of the brightest star at the western (right) edge of M63. The odd dust lane at the southern edge of M63 leads to a faint dwarf galaxy to the west (below the 2nd brightest star) which is about to be swallowed up by M63!


Telescope: Astrosib RC250 @ f/6 f=1500mm
Camera: QHY9
Mount: Mesumount 2
Guiding: OAG with Lodestar
Exposure: 28x10min L + 4x10min R + 4x10min G + 4x10min B
Date: February 26th, 2014
Location: Overijse, Belgium

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