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Spiral M63: ‘Sunflower' Galaxy

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#1 David Gray

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 06:27 PM

Not sure about sunflower, but to me, as with NGC 3184, the faint overall mottled aspect more like a ghostly rose.  In particular when the scope is gently moved and then the mottling becomes more apparent – albeit more tricky to place accurately; and resisted adding the most fleeting features........

 

Like NGC 2903 this is a 2-night effort thanks to some cloud at times last night (April 1) – star-field plotted first. When cloud passed over at times it was pretty thin and this galaxy was still bright enough for a good part of it to remain visible through it.  It was at those times that there was a strong impression of a lighter band/ray extending to near south of the brightest field star: presumably some brighter regions in the arms there..... 

 

Happily tonight conditions were better in a later darker sky and it was easy in the 10x50 finder. A better sky for seeking those fainter outer parts; and the 41% moon going down in the west not a problem - tho' will certainly look again when it is gone....! Could have added more stars but left that part as was, excepting two, very faint, within M63 below the brightest field-star.

 

Dave.

 

M63.jpg


Edited by David Gray, 02 April 2017 - 06:31 PM.

  • Special Ed, KidOrion, Jef De Wit and 6 others like this

#2 PeterDob

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 04:35 AM

I agree with you that M63 doesn't show its spiral structure that easily as you would expect from its nickname. Once again your sketch excels in precision and breathtaking realism. Beautifully done!!! bow.gifbow.gifbow.gif

Peter



#3 Sheliak_sp

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 01:07 PM

Very nice sketch David, as you said, is like a ghostly rose... I observed it last week and it was so difficult to get details from it. After so long I could split some condensations in the halo, but you trazed some of its arms, great!

 

Migue



#4 niteskystargazer

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 01:27 PM

David,

 

Nice sketch of  Spiral M-63: ‘Sunflower' Galaxy smile.gif .

 

CS,KLU,

 

thanx.gif ,

 

Tom



#5 David Gray

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 04:56 PM

Thanks Peter, Migue, and you guys for the Likes......smile.gif

 

I seem to have some trouble getting on this thread (MS Edge);......(indeed when posting it last night).....IE & Chrome seem ok 

 

I’m pretty sure these were my first views of M63 – I well recall views of the relatively dazzling M94; so maybe was left unimpressed with it after that......if I did look.

 

Funny thing with a spiral like this is that you spend so much effort grasping/verifying the numerous faint condensations that you only slowly come to realise actual arms are emerging on the sketch without consciously putting them there.  To say it looked undeniably like a spiral last night with a full-on look in the EP would be misleading – as I say a ghostly rose to me.......

 

Surprising the first night with thin cloud over it at times how that E/W ‘ray’ came to stand out compared to the rest of the outer parts being diminished.

 

Even stranger last night was when a high-flying jet plane cut straight across the field; dazzling me and leaving a weak bisecting faint vapour trail, which remained smack across the centre of M63 (no drift) for maybe 5 seconds (then dissipating); pretty much in line with the N/S of the compass direction as on the attachment. 

 

Stranger still: at the moment the faint trail dissipated; where it had been: momentarily it looked blacker than the rest of the field with numerous stellar ‘sparklings’ along it.  Maybe it was part of the process of my eye re-adapting from the dazzle of the aircraft lights.....??  Or was it a peculiar atmospheric lens-effect that allowed a glimpse of stars in M63.........grin.gif

 

All in all another galaxy I need to look at again in a very good sky – moonless in case I underestimated the effect of that last night.....

 

Dave.


Edited by David Gray, 04 April 2017 - 01:58 AM.


#6 frank5817

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:27 PM

David,

 

This is really a very fine sketch.

It has always been difficult for me to get views that are equal to your sketch here

on this bright galaxy. Once with a 20 inch scope I could clearly see the "sunflower look"

but the sky was near perfect and I was at Kitt Peak National Observatory. I which I could have sketched it.

 

Frank :)



#7 David Gray

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 02:01 AM

Many Thanks Tom and Frank......smile.gif

 

Apologies to Tom (niteskystargazer) for missing him off my previous post

due to the continuing  problems getting on my thread here.........confused1.gif

 

Frank your experience at Kitt Peak confirms my notion about the 'sunflower' vs 'rose' impression:

M63 bright but not readily yielding its secrets to the visual observer.......!

 

Dave.


Edited by David Gray, 04 April 2017 - 02:07 AM.


#8 Special Ed

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 05:04 PM

Dave,

 

Very nice and careful observation and drawing of this beautiful galaxy.  smile.gif  It's bright, too--I can see it with my 12x36 image stabilized binoculars (under SQM-L 21.50+ skies).

 

I had problems accessing this page, too which is why I am just now commenting.  Had the same problem with Cindy's post of Stofler, et al last week. 



#9 David Gray

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 05:44 PM

Thanks Michael.

 

Like you I had similar trouble with Cindy’s Stofler thread.

 

Mine from the initial posting came up with (MS Edge) the slightly flippant: “Hmm, we can't reach this page.”  But checking on IE 11 showed it had got on the Forum ok. 

 

From then I could only get on it by clicking on the title not the *last post bit* – that is when not signed in – signed in neither side works and I have to either follow the MS Edge search option and then straight on it – other browsers: IE & Chrome work fine..........very odd.......

 

Dave.


Edited by David Gray, 04 April 2017 - 05:44 PM.


#10 Special Ed

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 08:06 PM

Post a question about it on the feedback forum and they'll fix whatever the problem is.



#11 David Gray

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 05:08 AM

Thanks Michael - I was thinking in that direction; but it seems to be faring fairly well - possibly....tongue2.gif

 

For future submissions methinks I avoid MS browsers and l return to Chrome..........

 

I was one of the many that was duped into installing Win 10 when I thought I was reserving it.

With more downsides than sticking with Win 7, with a few apps rendered unusable.

 

If I was more computer savvy I would be seeking to purge MS (& Apple) from my PCs as far as I could;

and go in the Linux direction......

 

Dave.



#12 mariosi

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 09:10 AM

Dave, 

Very nice sketch of M63 "Snowflower"!

 

Marios 



#13 Randolph Jay

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 12:12 PM

Superb sketch!

Regards,

Randolph



#14 David Gray

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 05:41 PM

Many Thanks Marios, Randolph.........smile.gif

 

Dave.



#15 azure1961p

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 07:40 AM

Been so busy (wiped) from work I don't come here as often as I read and nod off!  In the process I've neglected to comment here David despite my seeing this post when it was new but i not signed in.

 

This is a terrific work and one that Omeara says too, is initially difficult to make out what is what as the patches appear disconnected and random. For me, thus galaxy was very easy to define, even more so than your observation with 4x the light gathering power.  Trick was hazy sky's so not a glimmer of anything in the halo !  No disconnected patches to be sure.  After that I looked again and again, haze overhead and again a blank halo. Yo that rnd, yes my M63 was more straightforward than yours ;)

 

The Rose analogy is an interesting comparison and one I think is correlative to your aperture and skills.  I could be wrong but even under dark sky's I don't think smaller aperture resolves the features enough to present it like tgat. I could be wrong though, again my hazy sky trys. Still, smaller aperture trends to blunt or smooth the finer contrasts. Just a thought.

 

I'd like to try high power on that core where the knots seem most prominent and see what pops. If nothing else an uneven core would be a nice reward. 

 

I will be saving this as an after session reference. A beautiful piece.

 

Pete



#16 David Gray

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 03:24 PM

Thanks Pete,

 

Yes a deceptive object..........bright-easy..........but those tantalizing mottled arms........tongue2.gif

 

Need to revisit it as there seemed more - just beyond reach - that needed the best conditions.

 

Cheers,

Dave. 



#17 azure1961p

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 08:14 PM

Bright and easy indeed. It's almost like the Venus of galaxies. The promise is there in brightness but it's contrasts are another story. Please do post any updates. 

 

Pete




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