Messier 82

M82, The Starburst Galaxy in Ursa Major

This irregular galaxy in Ursa Major suffers from severe core distortion as a result of interaction with its nearby neighbor M81. The distance between the centers of the two interacting galaxies is a mere 130,000 light years, with the pair being about 11 million light years from Earth.

About 100 million years ago tidal forces caused by the gravitational attraction of neighboring M81 triggered an intense region of starbirth in M82, tearing off the arms of this former spiral galaxy and unleashing a frenzy of star generation within its core. The birth of supermassive, short-lived stars gave rise to intense stellar winds and the spectacular demise of these giants in the form of supernovae explosions, providing the driving force for the plumes and filaments of hydrogen gas (red feature in above image) blasting out from the central region of the galaxy. These filaments extend outward for a staggering distance of nearly 10,000 light years from the center of the galaxy. Brown obscuring dust can also be seen entrained in this high velocity flow of gas emanating from the core area.

Credit: David M. Jurasevich

M82 Galaxy with Supernova, in Infrared by sjrankin on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
The supernova SN 2014J is seen in this image near its peak brightness in the first week of February 2014. It appears as a faint star to the lower right of the central region of its host galaxy M82.

The new supernova is of a particular kind known as a Type Ia. This type of supernova results in the complete destruction of a white dwarf star-the small, dense, aged remnant of a typical star like our Sun. Two scenarios are theorized to give rise to Type Ia supernovas: In a binary star system, a white dwarf gravitationally pulls in matter from its companion star, accruing mass until the white dwarf crosses a critical threshold and blows up. Alternatively, two white dwarfs in a binary system spiral inward toward each other and eventually explosively collide.

Made with Flickr

Messier 82: The Cigar Galaxy

Messier 82, also called the Cigar Galaxy, is a starburst galaxy located about 12 million light years away towards the constellation Ursa Major. It houses the brightest pulsar ever detected, which is likely pulling in nearby material at a high rate to power the glow.

Messier 82 has a neighbor, Messier 81. They passed close to each other about a hundred million years ago. The result of the gravitational interaction of the two pulling at each other was a burst of star formation in Messier 82, classifying it as a starburst galaxy. The young stars emit intense radiation, which blows out gas and dust.

Image from NASA, information from NASA and NASA.

The Cigar Galaxy Lights Up: Supernova 2014J

“Once upon a time in a galaxy 12 million light years away, a tiny white dwarf star went supernova – and for a few fleeting weeks was elevated in brightness to outshine the rest of the stars in its galaxy combined.

The far, far away galaxy is called Messier 82 and lies in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major (Big Bear, Big Dipper). Also known as the "Cigar Galaxy,” owing to its long narrow shape and maybe its ashy appearance in small telescopes, M-82 has been known to us since the late 18th century when Charles Messier observed and cataloged it during his search for comets.“

Learn more from astronomer Ben Burress of Chabot Space & Science Center.

Image: Supernova 2014J in the galaxy M-82, before (2004) and after (January 2014). Credit: Chabot Space & Science Center, Conrad Jung

A distinctly disorganised dwarf

Known as UGC 4459, this dwarf galaxy is located approximately 11 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear), a constellation that is also home to the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101), the Owl Nebula (M97), Messier 81, Messier 82 and several other galaxies all part of the M81 group.

UGC 4459’s diffused and disorganised appearance is characteristic of an irregular dwarf galaxy. Lacking a distinctive structure or shape, irregular dwarf galaxies are often chaotic in appearance, with neither a nuclear bulge — a huge, tightly packed central group of stars — nor any trace of spiral arms — regions of stars extending from the centre of the galaxy. Astronomers suspect that some irregular dwarf galaxies were once spiral or elliptical galaxies, but were later deformed by the gravitational pull of nearby objects.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)

Researchers Just Discovered The Brightest Dead Star Ever Found

Astronomers using NASA’s NuSTAR telescope array have found something beautiful about 12 million light-years from our planet Earth: The brightest dead star, or pulsar, ever found. It’s only called a dead star because it’s the leftovers from a supernova — this thing is still very much alive, pumping out around 10 million suns’ worth of energy, according to NASA. Scientists originally thought the pulsar, located in the Messier 82 galaxy, was a black hole, but it turns out that isn’t the case at all.

“You might think of this pulsar as the ‘Mighty Mouse’ of stellar remnants,” said Fiona Harrison, the NuSTAR principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, in a NASA release about the pulsar. “It has all the power of a black hole, but with much less mass.”

from Time


A Star Just Exploded ‘Next Door’ And It’s A Huge Deal

By: Erin Ruberry

While you were sleeping, a supernova was spotted “practically next door” and it is, to paraphrase Joe Biden, a big freaking deal.

The stellar explosion occurred in the galaxy 

Messier 82

 (M82), about 12 million light years from Earth.

This means the star exploded nearly 12 million years ago and we’re just seeing it. University College London claimed to be one of the first to spot the supernova, one of the closest since the 1980s.

It’s a huge deal.

The animation, from Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes and Martino Nicolini, shows the before and after:

Want to see the supernova for yourself?

Look into the constellation Ursa Major in the Northern Hemisphere. Skymania provided this map:


Cigar Galaxy

Messier 82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy or NGC 3034, is a starburst galaxy located about 12 million light years away towards the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. The red cloud in this image is made up of hydrocarbon dust similar to car exhaust, which is being blown into space by the millions of young stars in the galaxy.

In the center of the Cigar Galaxy, stars are being born ten times faster than they are in the entire Milky Way. The huge concentration of young stars, and the galactic winds they generate, compresses enough gas and dust to create millions of more stars. The young stars in the galaxy are compressed into small, dense star clusters which congregate to form the “starburst clumps” in the center of the galaxy. Eventually, as star formation continues, the new stars will consume the materials in the galaxy and star formation will slow, probably in a few tens of millions of years.

Image from National Geographic, information from National Geographic and NASA.