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M81 & M82 galaxies


These galaxies are in the constellation of Ursa Major. They are both at a similar distance from us (about 7 million light years) and so they are affecting each other gravitationally. That interaction seems to be disrupting M82 (on the right) to the extent that it has become very active in star forming regions - as if it is filled with clouds like the Great Orion Nebula (M42). Observations at non-optical wavelengths (eg, radio) have shown swirls of gas connecting the two galaxies.

The 2 galaxies are less than 1 degree apart in the sky and so can be photographed in one field at the prime focus of my telescope.

 From rural site

The galaxies M81 and M82

Canon EOS5DMkII 254mm Newtonian @ 1200mm 26 x 30s f/4.8 ISO6400 2011-01-28 22:03:11-22:17:51 UT
From Rookhope 54.8N 2.1W 330m asl. Rural, almost no light pollution (3 Bortles)

 From suburban site

Image showing M81 and M82 in one field

Canon EOS5DMkII 254mm Newtonian @ 1200mm 101 x 10s f/4.8 ISO3200 2010-3-2 20:06:28-20:31:49 UT
From Whitley Bay 55.1N 1.5W 10m asl. Suburban, significant light pollution (6.5 Bortles)

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