M63 – The Sunflower Galaxy Proves the Hubble Space Telescope Never Lets Us Down

How can you not love spiral galaxies? The most famous, or at least well known, is the Andromeda Galaxy.

Andromeda Galaxy

Andromeda Galaxy

Most of us have heard of it because of how close it sits to Earth. It’s just 2.35 million light-years from Earth and is the closest major galaxy to the Milky Way.

But the Andromeda Galaxy isn’t the only one out there. The Hubble Space Telescope recently snapped this image of M63, also known as the Sunflower Galaxy.

M63 Sunflower Galaxy

Sunflower Galaxy

Here’s a little background on M63 (Sunflower Galaxy). It was first discovered by French astronomer Pierre Mechain in 1779. Mechain’s discovery would be etched in history as the 63rd entry into Charles Messier’s famous catalog. The Messier catalog was made up of more than 100 deep space objects and included diffuse nebulae, planetary nebulae, open clusters, globular clusters and galaxies.

UniverseToday has a fantastic page of the Messier catalog with links to each object and how to view them.

According to NASA, M63 sits about 27 million light years away. It belongs to a larger group of galaxies known as the M51 Group. It’s named after its brightest galaxy, Messier 51 – also called the Whirlpool Galaxy.

Whirlpool Galaxy

Whirlpool Galaxy

You can keep tabs on all things Hubble at its official website.

Image credits: NASA

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