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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2009

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The Black Eye Galaxy (M64), Rachel Dykstra

Black Eye Galaxy

M64 is a spiral galaxy that can be found in Coma Berenices with the southern side of the galaxy being closest. The distance of M64 is approximately 19 million light years, yet the distance is uncertain for the distances calculated have ranged anywhere between 12 and 44 million light-years. This is strange considering the fact that telescopes should have the reach to compute the distance to M64. M64 is most commonly known as The Black Eye Galaxy and has also been coined the "Sleeping Beauty Galaxy". M64 was first discovered, yet ignored, by Edward Pigott on March 23, 1779 , but rediscovered by Charles Messier and cataloged it as M64.

As shown in the picture above, large dark dust clouds surround the central region of M64. Due to these dust clouds, the galaxy is given its black-eye appearance and name. The Black Eye Galaxy’s shape is irregular with uneven brightness and texture, over a bright oval, with a bright large core. The most distinct feature of M64 is the unique dust pattern it contains which is situated to the SSW direction of the nucleus. In addition, observations have shown that M64 is composed of of 2 concentric, counter-rotating systems of stars rotating is opposite directions most likely caused by the merger of two different galaxies. Lastly, the angular size shown of M64 is 5.4 arc minutes, the distance is 19 million light-years, and the linear size is 30,000 light years which corresponds to the angular size.


Nemiroff, Robert & Jerry Bonnel. " M64: The Black Eye Galaxy." Nasa. http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap070802.html

Frommert, Hartmut and Kronberg, Christine. "NGC 7293." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. <http://www.seds.org/MESSIER/xtra/ngc/n7293.html>

Right Ascension (J2000) 12:56:44
Declination (J2000) +21:41:05
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 4 x 60 seconds in CBVR
Date observed

March 15, 2009 (CBVR)