Catching Light

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Dan Lessmann

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M81, M82



This image shows two galaxies in Ursa Major.


The left galaxy is M82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy for it's distinctive shape.  M82 is an irregular galaxy although it most likely used to be a spiral galaxy.  The right galaxy is M81, also known as Bode's Galaxy.  This galaxy is a spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way.


These galaxies are only about 150,000 light years apart and were much closer millions of years ago.  At that time, the much more massive M81 disrupted M82 causing an intense period of star and globular cluster formation in the smaller galaxy.  The echoes of that collision are still being seen today.  While M82 is visually a comparatively bright galaxy, it truly shines in the infrared and is in fact the brightest infrared object in the sky due to the stirring of the pot still going on in the dust obscured regions of its core.


Both galaxies are about 12 million light years from earth.


Date: 3/4/2005

Telescope:  Orion 80 ED

Camera:  Canon 20D

Mount: LX200GPS Piggyback, Unguided

Capture Software:  EOS Viewer

Focus: DSLRFocus

Settings: f/7.5, ISO 800

Exposure Count: 

30 x 2 minutes

1 hour total exposure.

Processing:  Aligned, combined and post processed in ImagesPlus.  Balanced in Photoshop.

Last Updated: 11/12/2014  -  Copyright 2004-2013 by Dan Lessmann.  All rights reserved.  Please click here for my usage policy.