Urban M63 with Esprit 120 & Canon 60Da

Another urban image from my urban front yard. According to Wikipedia - Messier 63 or M63, also known as NGC 5055 or the seldom-used Sunflower Galaxy, is a spiral galaxy in the northern constellation of Canes Venatici. M63 was first discovered by the French astronomer Pierre Méchain, then later verified by his colleague Charles Messier on June 14, 1779. The galaxy became listed as object 63 in the Messier Catalogue. In the mid-19th century, Anglo-Irish astronomer Lord Rosse identified spiral structures within the galaxy, making this one of the first galaxies in which such structure was identified.

Click on the image to see a closer crop of the main galaxy. Click again to return to this page.
Object M63    RA 13:15:48, Dec 42:01:59
Date 24 May 2020
Exposure 152 minutes (38 X 4 minute)
Conditions Clear  Bortle 6 skies, slight amount of smoke from a nearby forest fire
ISO 800
Camera Canon 60Da DSLR
Optics SkyWatcher Esprit 120  f/7 APO refractor with  a  focal length of 840 mm

Bedford, Nova Scotia


This image was processed entirely in Images Plus. All subs were calibrated and stacked in Images Plus. The image was stretched using an arcsinh stretch and then a mask made from the the resulting image. The feature mask was used on this luminance mask to remove the stars. Several iterations of stretching and blurring were used to make the arms visible. Each time the blurring was applied, the bright detail was protected with a inverted luminance mask. This mask was then used on an arcsinh stretch of the original data followed by a root x^n stretch also using the mask. Next the stars were removed using the feature mask and the noise of the galaxy layer reduced using a masked frequency domain low pass filter. The layer was then sharpened and contrast enhanced using multi-scale decomposition and a layer combine. The saturation of the star layer was boosted and the stars placed back in the image, which was then binned by two. A little touch up with a sharpening brush rounded out the processing.