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  • Ville Puoskari

Gems of Ursa Major

This pair of galaxies lies in the constellation of Ursa Major, on the right is a grand design spiral galaxy Messier 81. This galaxy is also known as Bode's Galaxy, named after it's founder Johann Elert Bode who discovered the galaxy on 31 December 1774. He also discovered the other large galaxy left of M81, The Cigar Galaxy (Messier 82). Later Pierre Méchain independently rediscovered both objects and reported them to Charles Messier, who added them to his catalog. These galaxies are surrounded by grayish veils of dust - a relatively recently identified astronomical phenomenon called integrated flux nebula. In contrast to the typical and well known gaseous nebulas within the plane of the Milky Way galaxy, these nebulas lie beyond the main body of the galaxy. They dont emit any light, only reflecting Milky Way's light back to us. This makes photographing them extremely difficult. For this photograph I needed a total exposure time of 38 hours just to get IFN to show somewhat decently. This also brings out alot of small galaxies in the background, how many can you find?


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