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Deep Sky 600 as a random road trip; and M63

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#1 gnowellsct



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Posted 29 June 2020 - 11:16 PM

I have one of the rare spouses who actually will sit outside with me and observe.   I was thinking about how to get her more involved.


Last time out at new moon I handed her the DS 600 and folded it and said "you can pick anything between the folds and down to about -30."  (That being our lower effective limit what with trees etc.  


And so she picked the objects.  It was quite an interesting tour and done without following my own sensibilities as to what part of the sky would be better.  We saw things that I had not seen in a long time or hadn't even seen at all. 


We were in the Adirondacks in a very dark spot.   One of her choices was M63.  It's really not that far from M51 as far as these things go.  M51 of course is a major stopping point, bright, compact.  M63 I think we tend to neglect because in suburban zones it really withers, just like M101.


But we weren't in a suburban zone and in the C14 I was stunned to see to see it dominate the field of my 20mm eyepiece and show a pronounced spiral characteristic discernible puffs that give its flocculent appearance in photographs.  In a dark sky this galaxy is a humdinger.  I was reluctant to push on to other objects.   I have viewed M63 before but it wasn't till this past outing that I really saw it.  


It's too bad its features are so delicate and vulnerable to the slightest light pollution.  It's really much more interesting than M51, and certainly a rival of M33.  


Greg N

Edited by gnowellsct, 29 June 2020 - 11:20 PM.

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#2 scottinash


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Posted 30 June 2020 - 12:05 AM


#3 spereira



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Posted 30 June 2020 - 06:56 AM

Moving to Deep Sky Observing, for a better fit.



#4 chrysalis



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Posted 30 June 2020 - 09:19 AM

Greg, you are doubly blessed - a wife who will observe with you AND dark skies!!!

#5 orionic


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Posted 30 June 2020 - 11:49 AM

M63 is my favorite galaxy so far, of the ~75 or so I've probably imaged/viewed this year.  Those flocculent puffs, tightly spiraling around, make it look somewhat like a hurricane, to me, although I recognize there's no empty "eye" in the center.  I like to imagine it making "swishing" and "bubbling" noises as all that detail spirals about.  It has a rather "3D" appearance too, in photos; I'm not quite sure exactly how to explain it, but it really makes it more engaging and impressive.

#6 Tony Flanders

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 01:51 PM

M63 is certainly a fascinating galaxy. But calling it more interesting than M51 -- let alone a rival to M33 -- seems like hyperbole to me. I have devoted entire nights to observing M33; I can't imagine doing that with M63.


My own personal discovery (or rediscovery) for this year was M106. Somehow people never seem to talk much about it, yet it displays a huge amount of structure in small telescopes, and keeps on giving and giving in big scopes.

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