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M81 (Bode's Galaxy) & M82 (Cigar Galaxy)

M81 (Bode's Galaxy) & M82 (Cigar Galaxy)

Date: 2/19/2010
Target: M81, Bode's Galaxy and M82, Cigar Galaxy
Telescope: Orion 8" f/4.9 w/Multi-Purpose Coma Corrector
Camera: Canon 40D (modified)
Filter: None
Exposures: 50x240s (3.3h) @ ISO1600
Framing: North is left
Start Temp: 28F
End Temp: 21F
Location: Mocksville, NC
Seeing: 3/5
Transparency: 4/5
Guiding (RMS/Osc): 0.19/0.43
FWHM: 5.1"
Start Time: 10:00PM
End Time: 3:00AM
Captured using Nebulosity, stacked using DeepSkyStacker, processed in Photoshop.

Winner - AstrophotoGallery.org Monthly Challenge February 2010

Messier 81 (also known as NGC 3031 or Bode's Galaxy) is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. M81 is one of the most striking examples of a grand design spiral galaxy, with near perfect arms spiraling into the very center. Because of its proximity to Earth, its large size, and its active galactic nucleus (which harbors a supermassive black hole) Messier 81 is a popular galaxy to study in professional astronomyresearch. The galaxy's large size and relatively low apparent magnitude(lower magnitude implies higher brightness) also make it a populartarget for amateur astronomy observations.

Messier 82 (also known as NGC 3034 or the Cigar Galaxy) is the prototype nearby starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. The starburst galaxy is five times as bright as the whole Milky Way and one hundred times as bright as our galaxy's center.

In 2005, the Hubble revealed 197 young massive clusters in the starburst core. The average mass of these clusters is around 2 × 105 M⊙,hence the starburst core is a very energetic and high-densityenvironment. Throughout the galaxy's center, young stars are being born10 times faster than they are inside our entire Milky Way Galaxy.