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Kimberton, PA US


Image Details: M064 - Black Eye Galaxy

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M064 - Black Eye Galaxy

Object/Name: M64 (NGC4826, UGC8062, SAC2658, CDSO443, Bedford467) Image Details:
Type: Spiral Galaxy (Sb) Clear IRB:6.00 min. (18) – 108.00 min. 1x1
Constellation: Coma Berenices Red:6.00 min. (24) – 144.00 min. 2x2
RA: 12 hours 56.7 minutes Green:6.00 min. (23) – 138.00 min. 2x2
Dec: +21 degreees 1 minutes Blue:6.00 min. (23) – 138.00 min. 2x2
Distance: 12.0 - 22.8 light years Total Time:528 minutes
Magnitude: 8.5 mag   
Size: 9.3 x 8.5 arc minutes   
Imaging Dates: 16 - 21 April 2014   
Location: Dark Horse Obervatory, Kimberton, PA 19460 U.S.A   
Telescope: Starizona Hyperion 12.5 inch aperture CCD: SBIG ST-1100
Focuser: Finger Lakes Instruments DF2 Mount: Paramount ME
Filters: Baader LRGB   
Software Used:
  CCDStack 2 Photoshop CS4
Noel Carboni's Astronomy Tools Gradient Exterminator by Russel Croman
RGB combine Ratios calculated using Excalibrator by Bob Franke Topaz Labs: Denoise, Detail, & InFocus
Noise Ninja Focus Magic, PixInsight for LRGB combin
Detailed Information:
M64's pattern of smooth swirling arms around a whiter core with one edge (northern) lined by dark dust lanes is reminiscent of a closed human eye with a "shiner." Hence the name, Black Eye Galaxy. These dark arms contain dense (in the cosmic sense) dust clouds that contain sufficient material to fill the gardens of billions of planets. If, however you had jar of this cloud material in front of you, you would be hard pressed to tell that there was anything in it at all! Dense is a relative term especially when you expand into the cosmic realm.

M64 was first observed by Edward Pigott in March 1779, by Johann Elert Bode in April of 1779, and again by M. Messier on 1 March 1780. The most striking feature seen best in larger aperture telescopes are the dark lanes that absorb light emanating from the galaxy's bright core giving the dark appearance. While M64 appears to be a typical spiral galaxy, has two counter-rotating systems of stars and gas contained in its disk which is an inner zone of approximately 2,000 ly in radius. This disk rubs on the edge of the outer dish which is rotating in the opposite direction. It is thought that this rubbing may be responsible for the vigorous burst of star formation that is taking place in the galaxy and is visible in high resolution images from the Hubble Cameras as blue knots embedded in the dust lane. It is postulated that this resulted when M64 absorbed a satellite galaxy that it collided with over a billion years ago. The counter rotation of the two parts of the disk is thought to lead to compression and gradual accumulation of material in the area between them resulting in star formation.

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