Messier 81 and NGC 3077

Astrobin Top Pick

Messier 81, also known as NGC 3031 or Bode's Galaxy, is a spiral galaxy located approximately 11.8 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It is one of the most prominent galaxies in the nearby universe and serves as a valuable target for astronomers studying galactic structure and dynamics. With a diameter of around 90,000 light-years, Messier 81 is slightly smaller than our own Milky Way galaxy but exhibits similar features, such as spiral arms, a central bulge, and a prominent disk of stars, gas, and dust. Its spiral arms are characterized by regions of intense star formation, visible as pinkish nebulae where massive stars are born. Observations of Messier 81 across various wavelengths, from radio to X-ray, reveal a complex interplay of stellar populations, gas dynamics, and energetic phenomena. The galaxy hosts a central supermassive black hole, which astronomers believe to be about 70 million times the mass of the Sun, and it displays evidence of interactions with its smaller companion galaxy, NGC 3077, as well as other members of the M81 group. Studies of Messier 81 have contributed significantly to our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution, providing insights into the processes driving star formation, the dynamics of galactic interactions, and the role of black holes in shaping the properties of their host galaxies. Ongoing observations and research continue to unravel the mysteries of this fascinating cosmic neighbor, shedding light on the intricate mechanisms governing the universe on both small and large scales.

NGC 3077 is a peculiar dwarf irregular galaxy situated approximately 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. Part of the M81 group, it is in close proximity to the larger spiral galaxy Messier 81 and its companion, Messier 82. Despite its modest size, NGC 3077 plays a significant role in astrophysical research due to its unique characteristics and dynamic interactions with its neighbors. The galaxy exhibits a distorted morphology, likely the result of gravitational interactions with Messier 81 and Messier 82, as well as previous encounters with other members of the group. These interactions have triggered intense star formation within NGC 3077, leading to the formation of massive young stellar clusters and numerous nebulae rich in hydrogen gas. Observations across various wavelengths reveal the presence of a substantial amount of dust and gas, indicative of ongoing star formation processes. NGC 3077 also hosts a central region containing a dense concentration of older stars, suggesting a complex history of star formation and stellar evolution. Additionally, studies have revealed the presence of a supermassive black hole at the galaxy's core, although its properties and influence on the surrounding environment remain subjects of ongoing research. The dynamic interplay between NGC 3077 and its neighboring galaxies provides valuable insights into the mechanisms driving galaxy evolution, including gas accretion, star formation, and the role of gravitational interactions in shaping galactic structure. Further observations and analyses of NGC 3077 are essential for enhancing our understanding of dwarf galaxies' evolution within the context of larger galactic environments and shedding light on the broader processes that govern the formation and dynamics of cosmic structures.

Photographed from Bamberg, Germany under Bortle 5 conditions.

  • Category

    M81: Spiral Galaxy SA(s)ab, LINER

    NGC3077: Irregular Galaxy I0 pec

  • Coordinates (M81)

    RA 09h 55m 33.2s
    DEC +69° 3′ 55″

  • Distance

    M81: 3.8 Mpc

    NGC 3077: 4.0 Mpc

  • Apparent Mag

    M81: 6.9 mag (V)

    NGC 3077: 10.6 mag (V)

  • Equipment

    ONTC 800/200 Astrograph
    iOptron CEM70G
    QHY 294m pro

  • Exposure

    L: 168 x 180 s
    R: 25 x 180 s
    G: 22 x 180 s
    B: 20 x 180 s
    Total Integration: 11.8 h

  • Publication Date


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