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Astronomical Images

  by © Dr. Gary Palmer
    M82 and M81 thumb  

Location: Nevada City
William Optics F110

Click to enlarge
M81 & M82

The galaxies are M81 (the spiral, left) and M82 (the starburst, right). M82 was the site of a type 1a supernova in January 2014, and we can expect it to produce another nova every 10 years or so. While the diameter is about 1/4 that of the Milky Way, the luminosity is five times that of our galaxy. It is 12 million light years away and roughly 130,000 ly from M81. So the Milky Way might just fit into this picture and cover both M81 and M82. The strong gravitational influence from M81 is helping to drive star formation in M82. There are about a dozen visible interesting lumps in this image of M82. I'm not sure exactly what they are, but new globular clusters are forming near the core. They are found right in your own back yard in the northern part of the constellation Ursa Major.

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