Bode’s Nebula (M81)

Bode’s Nebula (M81)

Submitted by:  jaygabany

Draw a line from the left bottom star through the top right star of the Big Dipper’s bowl then extend it roughly the same distance upward and you’ll see the location of this magnificent winter galaxy, the eighty first entry in Charles Messier’s catalog, known as M-81. It was first identified in the late 1700’s by German astronomer Johann Bode, so it’s also sometimes known as Bode’s Nebula. Located only 12 million light years from Earth, a relative stone’s throw by intergalactic distances, M-81 is one of the brightest galaxies visible from in the night sky and can be spotted from a dark site, far from any city lights, without need for any optical assistance. M-81 exhibits rich, symmetrical spiral arms and numerous dark lanes of dust both of which may be evidence of interaction with its companion galaxy, M-82.

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http://www.space.com/amazingimages/cte.php?guid=443c0b73c4f306.17623060&cat=s

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