Waid Observatory

Object: M81 & M 82
Date: Dec. 29, 2005      -      Location: Margate, FL
Telescope: Intes MK-69  -   Camera: ST-10XME   
Filters: Astrodon TruBalance & Baader Neodymium LPS Filter
Exposure: L = 7 X 10 min. (Bin 1X1)   R G & B = 3 X 10 min. each (Bin 2X2)
Click on the image below to view at higher resolution.


M81 & M82 - Galaxy pair in Ursa Major


M81 and M82 1

M81 is one of the most prominent grand-design spiral galaxies in our sky.  It, and its close neighbor M82, form a galaxy pair that has long been the delight of amateur astronomers.  M82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy, passed in close proximity to M81. It is unclear how long ago this occurred with estimates ranging frorm several tens of millions to as much as 600 million years ago  This encounter gravitationally distorted both galaxies.  M82, being the smaller of the galaxies, was disrupted to a greater extent than was M81.  The encounter resulted in a flurry of new star formation in M82 that is still continuing at the present time.  M82 is one of the most active galaxies visible to astronomers and is the subject of extensive research.  M81 and M82 lie in the constellation Ursa Major at distance of approximately 12 million light years.


Copyright Donald P. Waid