M64, The Black Eye Galaxy in Coma Berenices


(Click on image for full size version)


Description: This galaxy is so-named due to the dust cloud near its core, making the galaxy appear as an eye with a shiner.  At a distance of 13.5 million light years, the expansive black cloud is around 40,000 light years in diameter, contrasting with the otherwise smooth spiral structure.
Exposure Data: 5/8,9/2003.  LRGB: 18x10m, 6x10m, 6x10m, 6x10m. RGB binned 2x2. 
-10C, 0.49 arc-sec./pixel.
Processing: Acquired via Sequencer in Maxim, reduced and aligned in Mira. double size, Sigma Reject combine, gradient removal and RGB combine in Maxim. Lum 2 iterations of CCDSharp. LRGB assembly and other adjustments in Photoshop.
Optical System: 12.5 Ritchey-Chretien @ F/9, ST-10XME NABG/CFW-8A CCD camera, Paramount ME.  Luminance AO7 guided, RGB autoguided.
Comments: Luminance frame measured 2.5 arc-sec. before deconvolution and 1.9 arc-sec. after.