Messier 81 and 82   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Galaxies in Ursa Major

This is probably my favorite pair of galaxies. They are both fairly bright, and can be seen together through a low-power eyepiece. The contrasting shapes and structures are obvious through a telescope. As a classic spiral galaxy, Messier 81 appears as an oblong glow. Its thin arms, so obvious in this image, are very hard to see through a telescope, but I have glimpsed them with my 18-inch Dobsonian using an eyepiece of moderately high power. Messier 82 has an irregular and chaotic structure, and it has a higher surface brightness. The next two images show closer views of these galaxies. They are about 12 million light years away.

Image details:  A mosaic of two images, each based on a series of 150-second exposures ( 20 for M81, 17 for M82) at ISO 1600, taken with a Canon 400D camera through a Meade 12” telescope at f/5.4.

February 2009