M64 - Black Eye Galaxy - Coma Berenices


Object Data: M64 (NGC 4826) is also known as the 'Black Eye' galaxy owing to the conspicuous dark structure close to the nucleus. In addition to the peculiar dark dust band astronomers have made the remarkable discovery that the interstellar gas in the outer regions of M64 rotates in the opposite direction from the gas and stars in the inner regions. Astronomers believe this may have been caused by M64 absorbing a satellite galaxy that collided with it, perhaps more than one billion years ago. This small galaxy has now been almost completely destroyed, but signs of the collision persist in the backward motion of gas at the outer edge of M64. M64 was discovered by Edward Pigott on March 23, 1779 and independently discovered and catalogued by Charles Messier on March 1, 1780. (Parts of this description courtesy of SEDS)

Date: 16/03/2007
Location: Southern France
Conditions: Calm, heavy dew, transparency=7, seeing=8
Optics: RCOS 12.5" Ritchey-Chretien working at f/9
Mount: AP 900 GTO on Portable Pier
Camera: SBIG ST-8E / CFW-8
Guiding: Integral ST-8E autoguider
Exposure: LRGB: Luminance: 8x 20 minutes; RGB: 2x 20:20:32 minutes binned 2x2

Processing: Image acquisition and initial processing using Maxim DL, subsequent processing in RegiStar and Photoshop.

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