Messier 81, Bode's Galaxy   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Spiral galaxy in Ursa Major

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Messier 81 is a beautiful spiral galaxy, one of the nearest to us. At magnitude 6.8, it is fairly easy to see with binoculars, but all that can be seen is a faint oval patch of light. Even through very large telescopes, the intricate details in this photograph cannot be seen visually. However, with a low-power eyepiece, the nearby galaxy Messier 82 can be seen in the same field of view, making this one of the most impressive galaxy pairs visible through amateur telescopes.

The small blue patch to the left of M81 is a nearby dwarf irregular galaxy, Holmberg IX.

Magnitude 6.8
Apparent Size 26' x 14'
Distance (light yrs) 12 million
Right Ascension 9:55.6
Declination +69 04
Field of View 29' x 22'

Image details:  Exposure times of 150 minutes luminance, and 30 minutes each of red, green, and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M imager and a 14" Meade LX850 telescope at f/6.

January 2015