These majestic pair of galaxies in the constellation Ursa Major are gravitationally locked and influence each-others shape. M81 is spiral galaxy (NGC 3031 – Bode’s Galaxy), and M82 is more irregularly shaped (NGC 3034 – Cigar Galaxy), although it is not classified as an irregular galaxy, as galactic spiral arms can be discerned when viewed in near infrared. Both are around 12 million light years away from us. M81 and M82 are the two major galaxies in the M81 Group that contains more than 30 galaxies.
M81 is 90,000 light years wide, about half the size of the Milky Way. M82 is a starburst galaxy, which means it is experiencing a very high number of creations of new stars. Its center is 100 times more luminous than the center of the Milky Way.
Though they cannot be observed with a naked eye, they fit very vividly in the same field-of-view of binoculars, or a smaller telescope.
Data and processing: Goran Petrov
License: Creative Commons BY NC (free for non-commercial use, with attribution).
Click on the image to view full size.
Location: Petralica, Rankovce, Macedonia
Total integration time: 5.8 hours
Processed in PixInsight.
Luminance information was synthetized from color data (average).