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Astr111 Photography Projects, Spring 2007

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Bode's Nebula (M81), Kimberly Randle

M81 (Bode's Nebula)

Messier 81 (M81), Bode's Nebula/Galaxy was discovered on December 31, 1774 by Johann Elert Bode. It is the brightest galaxy in the M81 group, a collection of thirty-four galaxies located within the constellation Ursa Major, which also includes the Big Dipper. Its appearance is a result of a close encounter with nearby M82, dramatically altering M82 while leaving traces in the spiral pattern on M81. This had two affects on M81: the galaxy was more pronounced and there was a dark linear feature in the lower left of the nuclear region. This is typical behavior; galaxies are very close in proximity, making collisions a usual occurrence.

M81 is gigantic, requiring a special technique to construct the picture above. The image was created by taking six images in 100 seconds in the North and six images in 100 seconds in the south. After calibration, images were made into a mosaic, using only a clear filter. With a magnitude of 7.9, the galaxy is built of a cluster of thousands of stars. There are an abundance of bright stars within the galaxy, meaning they are more close which helps to make M81 one of the brightest galaxies that can be seen from Earth. It is eleven million light years away with an angular size of 757.18 arcseconds and a diameter of about 40,300 light years.

References:

"Messier 81." . 2007. Wikipedia. 10 Apr. 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_81>.

Frommert, Hartmut and Kronberg, Christine . "Messier 81." . 15 July 2006. Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. 10 Apr. 2007 <http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m081.html>.

"Messier 81." Spitzer Space Telescope. 18 Dec. 2003. NASA. 10 Apr. 2007 <http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2003-06/ssc2003-06d.shtml>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 09:55:33.5
Declination (J2000) 69:04:00
Filters used Clear (C)
Exposure time per field 6x100 seconds in North, 6x100 seconds in South
Date observed

March 1, 2007 (C)