M82 - Cigar Galaxy
Messier 82 or M82 (also designated NGC 3034) is a starburst galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 8.4 and its angular diameter is 9x4 arc-minutes. M82 lies at an estimated distance of 12 million light years. The Equinox 2000 coordinates are RA= 9h 55.8m, Dec= +69° 41´ which makes M82 best seen during the spring. The Messier Spring Star Chart shows the position of all Messier objects visible during that season. As one of the more famous objects in the Messier Catalog, it is commonly known as the Cigar Galaxy.
In spite of its inclusion in the Messier Catalog, this peculiar galaxy was actually discovered by J. E. Bode in 1774. M82 has an irregular, distorted disk due to the gravitaional interaction of its larger neighbor M81. It is known as a starburst galaxy since it is the site of intense star-forming activity. M81 and M82 are the brightest members of the M81 Group of galaxies in Ursa Major.
According to Stoyan et al. (2010), the distance of M82 is 11.5 million light years and its diameter is 37,000 light years. Its estimated mass is 50 billion solar masses.
Messier's Description of M82
February 9, 1781
`Nebula without star, near the preceding [M81]; both are appearing in the same field of the telescope, this one is less distinct than the preceding; its light faint and [it is] elongated: at its extremity is a telescopic star. Seen at Berlin, by M. Bode, on December 31, 1774, and by M. Méchain in the month August 1779.'
- Object: M82
- Other Names: NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy
- Object Type: starburst galaxy
- Object Data: Apparent Magnitude = 8.4, Angular Size = 9x4 arc-minutes
- Object Position (Equinox 2000): RA= 9h 55.8m, Dec= +69° 41´, Constellation = Ursa Major
- Date/Time: 2011 Mar 29 at 05:59 UTC
- Location: Bifrost Astronomical Observatory, Portal, AZ
- Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
- Telescope: Takahashi Epsilon 180 Hyperbolic Astrograph
- Camera: Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) (modified with a Baader UV/IR filter)
- Field of View: 1.70° x 2.56° at 1.7 arc-sec/pixel (web version: 10.0 arc-sec/pixel)
- Exposure: 6 x 300s, f/2.8, ISO 800
- File Name: M81M82-01w.jpg
- Processing (Adobe Camera Raw): Graduated Filter, Vignetting Correction, Noise Reduction, White Balance, Curves
- Processing (Photoshop CS5): Average Images, Curves, Noise Reduction
- Original Image Size: 3454 × 5179 pixels (17.9 MP); 11.5" x 17.3" @ 300 dpi
- Rights: Copyright 2011 by Fred Espenak. All Rights Reserved. See: Image Licensing.