[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Calvin Observatory
Weather Forecast
Cool Images
Observing Request
External Links
Related Links
Wildrik Botjes Planetarium
Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2009

Previous imageUp to Astr110 IndexNext image

Spiral Galaxy , Lindsay Hayes

Spiral Galaxy M82

M82 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major and is a member of the class of star bursting galaxies. It was discovered on December 31, 1774, by Johnann Elert Bode. M82 is about 12 million light years from the Earth. It is best known for its heavy star forming activity. And it is distinct from other galaxies because in infrared light, M82 is the brightest galaxy in the sky. And recently in 2005, two symmetric spiral arms were discovered in infrared images of M82. Before this discovery, M82 was believed to be an irregular galaxy.

M82 is covered by a cloud of dust. This dust is a result of the galaxy producing so many stars. Eventhough the galaxy is covered by dust, we can we can still see the star producing center in this picture because it is extremly bright. It appears to be a red or orange color. It would appear blue if the cloud where not covering it. Although M82 is a spiral galaxy, we are unable to see its spiral arms here. This is because of the orientation and angle we are viewing it. However, it is also because of the dust that surrounds it. It covers up the spiral arms making it appear irregular. This is why M82 is often thought to be an irregular galaxy rather than a spiral galaxy. The bright spots around M82 are the stars that surround it. M82 has a linear size of about 18824.52185 light years.


Fraknoi, Andrew, David Morrison, and Sidney Wolff. Voyages Through the Universe. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole-Thomas Learning, 2004.

Frommer, Harmut and Kronberg, Christine. "Messier 82." Students for the Exploration and Development for Space", 2009.


Nemiroff, Robert, and Jerry Bonnell. "Galaxy Wars." 2008.



Right Ascension (J2000) 09:55:54
Declination (J2000) +69:40:57
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in B,V,R,C.
Date observed

November 08, 2009 (BVRC)