The dynamic duo, Messier 81 and 82 (ground-based)

This wide-angle image taken by astrophotographer Robert Gendler shows the amazing duo of Messier 81 (right) and Messier 82 (left). These two mighty galaxies in the Plough (Ursa Major) belong to some of the most famous and beloved galaxies known to amateur astronomers. This may be one of the reasons that Supernova 1993J was discovered by the Spanish amateur astronomer Francisco Garcia Diaz and not a professional astronomer.

The violent star-forming activity in the neighbouring Messier 82 gives rise to a strong galactic wind that is spewing knotty filaments of hydrogen and nitrogen gas (seen in red) out of its centre.


Robert Gendler (

About the Image

Release date:7 January 2004, 15:00
Related releases:heic0401
Size:2000 x 1334 px

About the Object

Name:Messier 81, Messier 82, NGC 3031, NGC 3034
Type:• Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Distance:12 million light years
Constellation:Ursa Major

Image Formats

Large JPEG
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Screensize JPEG
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Position (RA):9 55 19.55
Position (Dec):69° 19' 47.95"
Field of view:62.97 x 42.00 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 92.5° left of vertical

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