Admiring the Universe - a fine-art photographer based in Perthshire, Scotland, with interests in landscape, nature and astrophotography

M81, M82, NGC3077 and IFN

M81, M82, NGC3077 and IFN
A galaxy group in Ursa Major and Camelopardalis, one of the nearest galaxy groups to the Local Group at approximately 3.6Mpc away.

The big obvious spiral is M81, Bode's Galaxy at about 12 Mly away, with a supermassive black hole about 70 million solar masses. The bright blue the spiral arms are star formation regions; the pink/red spots are nebulae.

The second-largest is M82, aka the Cigar Galaxy, also 12Mly away, home to the brightest pulsar yet known, M82-X-2. Tidal forces from interaction with M81 have caused massive star formation.

The wispy lines and areas are Integrated Flux Nebulae (IFN), bodies of gas and dust outwith the main body of the galaxy illuminated by the light of the galaxies themselves. You could say it's a bit faint - there are stars down to magnitude 16.1 in here, easily.

This is 8 hours' exposure on the Altair 26C using 3-min subs, gain 100, Neodymium filter.


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