M81 Bode’s Galaxy – M82 Cigar Galaxy


Messier 81, the galaxy on the bottom left of the photo, (aka NGC 3031 or Bode’s Galaxy) is a grand design spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away, with a diameter of 90,000 light years, in the constellation Ursa Major.
Messier 81 was first discovered by Johann Elert Bode on 31 December 1774. In 1779, Pierre Méchain and Charles Messier reidentified Bode’s object, hence listed it in the Messier Catalogue.

Messier 82, the galaxy on the upper right of the photo, (also known as NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy or M82) is a Starburst galaxy approximately 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. A member of the M81 Group, it is about five times more luminous than the Milky Way and has a center one hundred times more luminous. The starburst activity is thought to have been triggered by interaction with neighboring galaxy M81. As the closest starburst galaxy to Earth, M82 is the prototypical example of this galaxy type. M82, with M81, was discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1774; he described it as a “nebulous patch”, this one about 3⁄4 degree away from the other, “very pale and of elongated shape”. In 1779, Pierre Méchain independently rediscovered both objects and reported them to Charles Messier, who added them to his catalog