The Sunflower 🌻 Galaxy (M63 or NGC 5055), is a spiral galaxy visible in the boreal constellation of the Hunting Dogs; it was discovered in 1779 by Pierre Méchain, a colleague and friend of Messier, who collaborated in drawing up the famous catalogue.
 
The Sunflower galaxy is a spiral of the type Sb or Sc, which shows an irregular spiral pattern; it apparently seems to form a physical group with the Pinwheel Galaxy, the Whirlpool Galaxy and many other minor galaxies; it could belong to the Group of M101 (subgroup of M51). The proper name Sunflower is due to the very large number of spiral segments surrounding the nucleus, well wrapped around it and pervaded by a large number of interstellar dust clouds; the total mass of the galaxy would be between 80 and 140 billion solar masses, with a diameter of 90000 light-years, that is similar to that of our Milky Way. Its distance is estimated at 37 million light years and it is moving away from us at a speed of 580 km/s.

In May 1971, a type Ia supernova was observed between its arms, reaching an apparent magnitude of 11.8.

I took 173 x Lights Frames of 180s each, in the Wägital region, took me 3 nights to reach ~9 hours of data.
I used N.I.N.A as acquiring software and PHD2 for guiding, two great pieces of free software...
Than I used Pixinsight to process all the calibration data, which is composed by the 173 Lights frames, 100 Dark frames, 50 Flats and 50 Dark flats.
Ok if you are not familiar with Astrophotography all those info probably make no sense for you...do not worry...😅😅👍👍
If you are interested in learning Astrophotography you can find a lot of information I YouTube or in the WWW...and of course on Paper book as well..😀😀
Still a big margin of improvement but I'm happy...with...
 
My Equipment:
 
📡 Skywatcher EQ6-R Mount
📷 ZWO ASI 533MC Camera
🔭 TS-Optics RC 6" F/9 Scope 1370mm
📹 ZWO ASI 120 mini Guide Camera
🔭 60mm/240mm Guide Scope
💻 N.I.N.A & PHD2 Software during Acquiring
🖥  Pixinsight & PS for Post Processing
 
Links:
 
Wehre to buy stuff:
 
Acquiring, Guiding ad PP Software:
 
Sky Charts:
 
 

Pierre Méchain, the discoverer of Messier 101, described it as a:

"nebula without star, very obscure and pretty large, 6' to 7' in diameter, between the left hand of Bootes and the tail of the great Bear. It is difficult to distinguish when one lits the [grating] wires."

 Imagine that the light, to travel acorss M101 it will take around 170'000 Years !!😲😲😲 and to reach us the Light needed around 20 milions years, at a speed of 300000m/s !

 I leave here the link of Wikipedia about more information about the M101so you can take a read...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinwheel_Galaxy

I took this picture of the M101 on 04 May '21, in a pretty cold evening up in the mountain region of central part of Switzerland in the Wägitaler valley.

Its pretty dark up there probably a Bortle 4 Sky a really beautiful lake (DAM actually) is also there.

So I prepared my setup , before driving there I collimate my RC 6" Scope as vest I could, its not difficult but it is not so easy, you need to take really small adjustment steps between the Secondary mirror, the Primary mirror and the Focuser tilt plate.

To to that I use a Howie Glatter Laser collimation tool, ad Cheshire and a set of allen key and a lot of patience...

Anyway, Its Monday evening around 10PM, Im around 890 msl so is pretty cold even now in May, after the initial setup, polar Alignement and Focusing and Pointing to the object (M101) I' m ready, to take a bounch of picture of this nice DSO. Oh yea Tuesday I work...ronf...ronf 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️😴😴.

S I took around 40 Light Frame RGB with my ZWO 533 camera and the TS 6" at full Focal lenght of 1370mm, I'm waiting a reducer but not yet arrived, to improve the Focal Ratio from F9 to F6.75 (x 0.75 reducer) of course the FL will be reduced as well to 1027 mm, not bad at all.

This is my second DSO with this scope I'm pretty happy with the result. 

With such FL you need to be very precise in everything, Setup, Polar Alignment, Pointing, etc..et no room for error if not your pictures will be not good at all.

I use great software all open source, in particular NINA & PHD2 which are really great piece of Software, thanks to all the guys involved in the Dev. of such great utilities. 

For the Post I use Pixinsight, which I'm still learning it, It is not easy especially in the beginning, but after some time you will find it very nice software.

In this particular picture I had only 2,7 Hrs of integration so it is not the best picture ever of course, but slowly I'm improving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Messier observed this group of galaxies in 1773, while observing a comet; he described the Whirlpool Galaxy as a rather faint starless double nebula with a bright centre. First William Herschel and then his son John observed these galaxies, noting that in the central part around the nucleus there was a strange optical effect, similar to a ring surrounding the bright centre. Admiral Smith compared the primary to the planet Saturn, stating that it would have a similar shape if observed from a vertical position. Lord Rosse finally recognised very clearly the spiral structure of the primary galaxy and the obvious connection with the minor object to the north.

This is my second attempt on M51, and still Im not really happy, I collimated as best as i could, but there is still something which is not 100% correct let see in the next Galaxy season.

For now Ill let you see what I took in two night, I didn't used Dark, Flat for the PP in PI, I ll try lter to do it with them as see if it improve, not sure.

So to take this picture I used a 6" RC from TS-Optics at 1370mm FL, my ZWO ASI 533 Camera, on my EQ6-R Pro mount.

I took 200 ea. 60" Lights Frame the first Night, before the clouds came in view cry, and 50 ea. 180" the second night before the cloud came in..

Gain of the 533 is 101 and 70 off set.

 

I still have a lot to learn in general, but more on the collimation of this 6" RC, and at the same time the focusing was also a trick issue, I use an ZWO EAF connected together with the other equipment using N.I.N.A, I had several issue to get decent focus, I should re-check all the parameter, and loosing good valuable imaging time on that...but at the end is worth... 

Pacman Nebula
NGC 281, or Pacman Nebula, in Cassiopea, taken from Lachen, not in a perfect night,
As usual in Lachen I set my Telescope in a car park place in Nuolen. I think is a Bortle 4/5 Sky.
 
I took 80 ea. subs of 180 s each so four hours of integration time.
I m pretty happy with the results.
 
I used my refractor 60mm / 360mm  with Flattner 1x on a heavely modified EQ3 Synscan, one day Ill put on my site 
a kind of mods process for this mount. I get quite decent guiding  around 1" Total RMS using PHD2.
 
80 Lights frames 180s
35 Darks
40 Flats
100 Bias
Mount: EQ3
Scope: TS 60/360mm
Camera: ASI 533
Software:N.I.N.A and PHD2 for guiding (QHY5II L m)
Filter: Optolong L-Extreme
PP in Pixinsight
 

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