M81, on the left, is also known as Bode's galaxy, after Johann Elert Bode who discovered it in December of 1774 from Berlin. M82, on the right, is known as the cigar galaxy, after its shape. While M81 is a classic spiral galaxy, M82 is an unusual starburst galaxy. Just above M81, a small irregular dwarf galaxy that is orbiting M81 is visible as a small blue patch. The dwarf is cataloged as Holmberg IX and PGC 28757. All are about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. Details of M81 and M82 are shown below.
128 minutes L and 192 minutes RGB on 2012-02-26 using a QSI 583 from northern New Jersey through an Astro-Physics 155mm refractor at f6. North is to the right. ©2012
M81, detail from the above image.
M82, detail from the top image.