M63 (NGC 5055) -- Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici
M63 is a complex spiral galaxy. The distribution of its brighter regions of its well developed
spiral arms reminds some of the head of a sunflower. These details are beyond what I can
see from the deck of my house. The best I can do is see that the galaxy’s glow is not uniform
but contains bits and pieces of brighter spots that fade in-and-out at the edge of visibility.
Clearly, I am seeing hits of its magnificent spiral arms; just not enough to form a distinct
I was surprised to read in Stephen O’Meara’s “The Messier Objects” that M63 is interacting
with M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy). The two galaxies appear reasonably distant to each other in
the night sky but reside approximately the same distance from Earth (27 million light-years).
Further reading shows that there are other smaller galaxies also interacting with these two
large star systems. It made me think about or own Local Group of Galaxies in which the
Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy dominate an arrangement of several lesser galaxies. I
wonder if our Local Group would look similar from M63 or M51.