M64 – "Black Eye" Galaxy

 
This spiral galaxy in Coma Berenices is known as the "Black Eye" or "Sleeping Beauty" galaxy. Recent observations have shown there are two systems of stars and gas in its disk, rotating in opposite directions. The dust lane on one side of the nucleus may be from this and another galaxy colliding. Estimates of distance vary widely, but it is probably about 19 million light years away from us.

M64

Equipment
Celestron 9¼" at f/7 (with Ted Agos 0.63 reducer) on a Celestron CGE equatorial mount
SBIG ST-8XM camera
SBIG AO-7 adaptive optics unit
Optec IFW filter wheel with Astrodon TruBalance LRGB filters
Optec TCF-S focuser
Imaging and autoguiding with MaxIm DL 4
Exposure
Luminance   2.3 hours (28 x 5 min.) binned 1x1, -20°C
Red   2 hours (24 x 5 min.) binned 2x2, -20°C
Green   1.4 hours (17 x 5 min.) binned 2x2, -20°C
Blue   1 hour (12 x 5 min.) binned 2x2, -20°C
(Unequal color exposures due to clouds ending one session.)
Processing Dark and flat processing in CCDSoft
Average-combined in CCDSoft
Final processing and combine in Photoshop CS
Date and Location Luminance: 6 March 2005
Color: 6 & 9 March 2005
Montpelier, VA    N 37° 49' 12", W 77° 42' 06"