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Astr112 Photography Projects, Spring 2005

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M81 or Bode's Nebula, Megan Ghysels

M81/Bode's Nebula

Scanning the night sky in 1774, Johann Bode discovered the M81 galaxy in the Usra Major. Believing the formation he saw to be a nebula, he reported it in his journal. It was actually Pierre Mechain who reported the 'nebula' in 1779 to Charles Messier to be cataloged. Though because Bode was the first first to observe the galaxy he is the one given the credi, thus "Bode's Nebula." M81 has a near-by neighbor, M82, which probably passed close by M81 recently. The galaxies have deformations their forms which lead scientists to believe that they did pass by recently. The galaxy is a grouping of gas and stellar dust that has combined in clumps to form stars and cosmic formations (i.e. planets...).

Setting on its side, some astronomers say, that on a clear night at a dark site, M81 can be seen with the naked eye. It's position in the universe gives Earth almost a perfect head-on view. M81 is a spiral galaxy and looks like a Sb spiral according to the Hubble's cataloging system. Arms can be seen as well as a large, clear bluge in the center of this galaxy. As an artifact of this picture above, the bottom half of the picture seems to have a blue tint to it, the more accurate color is shown on the top half of the picture. The red color seen is due to the older stars, the red main sequence stars that are still around. The galaxy is about 11 million lightyears away and the linear size is 45000 lightyears.

References:
Freedman, Roger A. "Galaxies." Universe: Stars and Galaxies. 6th ed. United States Of America: W. H. Freeman and Company, 2002. 587-611.

Frommert, Hartmut. "M81." Messier. 5 May 2003. SEDS Organization. 5.May.2005 <http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m081.html>.

"Hubble takes major step in determing the age of the universe." The Hubble Site. 9 June 1993. HubbleSite. 5 May 2005 <http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/1993/31/text/>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 9:55:00
Declination (J2000) +69:04:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), and red(R)
Exposure time per filter 300 seconds in BVR
Date observed

March 31, 2005 (BVR)