Check out April’s glowing spring – Astronomy Now

The Awesome Messier 63 is the most popular Sunflower Galaxy and is one of the best features of the flocculent spiral in the entire sky. Photo: R. Jay GaBany.

By the time: all night around April

What is special: Messier 63 (NGC 5055), the Galaxy Sunflower, lives comfortably in Canes Venatici, and is famous for being one of the largest galaxies seen in the night sky in spring. Arguably, only the crème de la crème of spring galaxies, such as the Whirlpool and Pinwheel Galaxies (M51 and M101) and Messier 81, is better.

His name Messier immediately gives us a glimpse of his uniqueness, but it is the only modern photograph that fully shows his majesty in the form of a very fine spiral. They are large and bright enough to be seen through a small telescope that is well positioned in the sky on April nights.

How to check: Messier 63 is located in the center of Canes Venatici, Hunting Dogs, more than five degrees north-east of Cor Caroli (alpha [α] Canum Venaticorum), a beautiful double star. In mid -April, the constellation is fixed on the south meridian between midnight and 1 am BST (23: 00–00: 00 UT). The Sunflower is circumpolar (not set) from the UK latitudes, ending at around 1am at a very high altitude between 75 and 80 degrees.

The Messier 63 shines at +8.6, brightness for 10 × 50 binoculars to present it as a fuzzy area; brush 1.5 degrees north of magnitude +4.7 stars 20 Canum Venaticorum. It can be seen as a galaxy only through a small telescope, while looking with a scope in the 150mm (six-inch) range reveals the nebulous Sunflower, an oval shape in a halo that expands. to 3 ′ × 1.5 ′ in diameter.

Well -illustrated and edited images show Messier 63 a typical example of a ‘flocculent spiral’, a galaxy that lacks a large spiral structure such as the Whirlpool Galaxy, showing discontinuous spiral arms. . These images show the Sunflower as almost ‘a galaxy within a galaxy’, with spiral arms wound up in its aforementioned part, surrounded by a larger outer envelope that extending the galaxy to 12 ′ × 7.6 ′, where its wheels are unmatched. and combined with many dark paths and reddish-brown stars.

The patient observer can look at the 150mm phone which can detect some of the damage inside, while perhaps 250–300mm (ten to twelve-inches) is needed to see some mottling inside. the envelopp, showing the shape of the fragmented spiral of Messier 63..

Messier 63 is between 26 and 29 million light -years from Earth and is the largest galaxy, orbiting the Milky Way 100,000 light -years. It is a member of the M51 group of galaxies.

The Messier 63 (NGC 5055) is available at Canes Venatici for viewers in the north mid -latitudes. It is located above five degrees northeast of Cor Carole (alpha [a] Available in Venaticorum). A photo by Greg Smye-Rumsby.

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