Messier 63 (RGB)

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M63, also known as the Sunflower Galaxy is a spiral galaxy in Canes Venatici. It is a flocculent galaxy. Basically in this context it means that the spiral arm structure is not evident. Some have called them “fluffy” galaxies. About 30% of spiral galaxies are flocculent.

In this particular case the spiral arm structure is apparent in infrared light since that light penetrates the dust better than visible light and allows the spiral arms to be seen. However, we have to restrict ourselves to visible light and M63 makes a beautiful galaxy!

The galaxy is just over 29 million light years away and has an apparent width of 12 arc minutes (or about ⅓ of the full moon).

For all the technical details see astrobin.

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