Messier 82 - The Cigar Galaxy
Also known by the designation NGC 3034, this unusual galaxy is approximately 12 million light years distant.
Messier 82 was first described by Johann Bode in 1774 as a "nebulous patch" near its companion galaxy, Messier 81. Charles Messier added this object to his famous catalog in 1779.
Messier 82 has been classified by astronomers as a "starburst galaxy" which is making new stars at a rate 10 times faster than our own Milky Way Galaxy. Messier 82 is also five times brighter than the Milky Way. Astronomers also believe that the flame-like red plumes of glowing hydrogen gas seen above and below the center of Messier 82 are caused by the intense star formation activity at the center of this galaxy.
February 13, 14, 2010
Luminance - 15 x 8 minute sub exposures.
RGB data - 32 minutes per color channel, binned 2x2.
Shelter Valley, San Diego County, California
Optics - RC Optical Systems 10" Ritchey-Chretien
Mount - Astro-Physics AP 1200 GTO
Camera - SBIG STL-11000