Astronomy Picture of the Day

Bright Galaxy M81

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#91173 by @ 08.07.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Bright Galaxy M81


Big and beautiful
spiral galaxy M81
lies in the northern constellation
Ursa Major.

One of the
brightest galaxies in planet Earth's sky, M81 is also home
to the second brightest
supernova seen in modern times.

This superbly
detailed view

reveals M81's bright yellow nucleus, blue
spiral arms, and sweeping cosmic dust lanes with a scale comparable to
Milky Way

Hinting at a disorderly past,
a remarkable dust lane actually runs straight through the
disk, below and right of the galactic center,
contrary to
spiral features.

The errant
dust lane may be the lingering result of
a close encounter between
M81 and its smaller companion galaxy, M82.

Scrutiny of variable stars in M81 (aka NGC 3031)
has yielded one of the best
for an external galaxy -- 11.8 million light-years.

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