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Messier 82, the Cigar Galaxy (aka NGC 3034)

Messier82_CigarWebThis image of Messier 82 was imaged from Roberts Creek on May 29/30 2016 with a Megrez 120mm, Canon 60Da, and a x1.6 Barlow lens. Guided exposures were taken at 30, 120, 300 and 600 seconds for a total exposure time of 68 mins. at 1600 ISO. Stacking was with Deep Sky Stacker, processing in Photoshop CS2 and PixInsight. The sky quality (SQM) reading was an excellent 21.9, the best I’ve ever recorded from this location, all my neighbour’s lights were off and the moon had not risen!
Messier 82 is a starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major in which stars are forming at very high rates. It is a member of the M81 Group, this group is circumpolar, we can see it from our latitude all year round. Finding M82 is not particularly difficult as the “Plough” asterism of Ursa Major can be used as the starting point. The M81 / M82 pair is located 10 degrees northwest of Dubhe, the northwest corner star of the bowl of the Plough.
M82 is about five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way and has a center one hundred times more luminous than our galaxy’s center. The starburst activity is thought to have been triggered by interaction with neighbouring galaxy M81. As the closest starburst galaxy to our own, M82 is the prototypical example of this galaxy type, the Seyfert galaxies. In 2014, in studying M82, scientists discovered the brightest pulsar yet known, designated M82 X-2, it lies at the centre of the galaxy.

Mike Bradley

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M81 and M82

Taking advantage of last weeks’ clear nights I decided to image the Messier 81 Group, a very attractive target in Ursa Major about 12 million light years away. Messier 81 or M81 is a spiral galaxy also known as Bode’s Galaxy. Messier 82 or M82 is a starburst galaxy which also goes by the name of the Cigar Galaxy, it is the site of intense star-forming activity. On 21 January 2014 at 19.20 UT a supernova was detected in M82, it remained easily visible through small telescopes for several months, but has faded considerably now. This was one of the closest supernovae to Earth observed in recent decades and as a result it was studied extensively.

This was a stack of images from my Ha modified  DSLR at 800 ISO totaling 180 minutes, the scope was guided. Even though the camera was sensitive to the Ha emissions from M82, very little evidence was present in my images unfortunately.

Mike Bradley

SCC RASC Past President

M81 and M82

M81 and M82