few pairs of galaxies in the sky as spectacular as these two,
and both fit very well in the 1.5 degree field of my 8"
Astrograph. On the left is M81, a 7.9th magnitude inclined spiral
spanning 27 arcminutes in width. You can clearly see the yellow
core surrounded by the blue spiral arms here.
On the right is
the peculiar active galaxy M82, 9.3rd magnitude and spanning
some 11 arc minutes long. Its nearly edge on, only inclined 7
degrees from our line of sight. The warped ends of its disk from
the gravitational tug of M81 can be seen even at this scale,
and the core is awash in red hydrogen from its active quasar
There are dozens
of faint background images in this image, a notable object is
just above the core of M81, this blue nearly resolved object
is UGC5336 (Holmberg IX) which is a Magellenic type galaxy companion
to this host galaxy and is 14th magnitude.
Along the right
edge of M81 and along the bottom you can just see some wispy
nebulosity. This is the so called "Galactic Cirrus"
or "Integrated Flux Nebula". This is simply dust high
above the Milky Way galaxy that is reflecting the light of the
entire galaxies disk. It is extremely faint, and in this part
of the sky extends from Polaris the north star to this part of
the sky in a long ribbon.
The stunning orange
K0 star at the lower right is 7.2 magnitude and has a B-V index