M82 - Cigar Galaxy

Object image


In the area of Ursa Major near the Big Dipper are two remarkable galaxies, both of which are too far away to view without a telescope. M81 is a classic spiral galaxy we see almost face-on, about the same size as the Milky Way, beautiful in its graceful repose. In contrast, M82, seen edge-on, may have experienced a titanic explosion. No one knows for sure, but M81 and M82 are wrapped in a common envelope of dust. Perhaps the passing of M81, which is almost ten times larger, has left the smaller M82 disrupted in its wake.