M81, Bode's Galaxy in Ursa Major
M81 (NGC 3031), Magnitude 6.9 Sb Spiral Galaxy, Size 21.0'x10.0', Constellation: Ursa Major.
M81 is justly famous--it's one of the brightest galaxies in the area. But its fame, I must admit, has more to do with its juxtaposition with highly detailed M82 than with what it has to offer on its own. M81 is bright, sure, but it doesn't give up its secrets easily. I have just been able to detect its diaphanous spiral arms from the dark skies of the Prude Ranch (Texas Star Party).
At 12 million light years out, M81 is the principal member of a small group of galaxies that includes M82.
I feel good about this one. The Stellacam did show the spiral arms (if only barely) on the monitor in real time. Bigdob guru Tom Clark was amazed that I could do this with "only" a C8...
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