25.8 MB (2.0 MB compressed)
3100 x 2905 pixels
26.2 x 24.6 cm ⏐ 10.3 x 9.7 in (300dpi)
ESA / HUBBLE & NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ESA / HUBBLE & NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Messier 63 is a spiral galaxy also known as the Sunflower Galaxy due to the arrangement of spiral arms. It is located 27 million light-years away from Earth in the northern constellation of Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs) containing over 400 billion stars. The presence of newly formed, blue-white giant stars contribute to the bright spiral arms seen in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Messier 63 is a member of the M51 Group, a collection of galaxies named after its brightest member, Messier 51. Charles Messier, the 18th century French astronomer, catalogued over 100 galaxies and clusters. Through the telescopes available at the time, comets, nebulae, globular clusters and galaxies appeared just as faint, diffuse blobs.
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