The M81 Group - Bodes Galaxy (M81) and the Cigar Galaxy (M82)
Bodes Galaxy, also known as NGC 3031 or M81, is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. In this image Bodes Galaxy is on the bottom. Due to its proximity to Earth, large size and active galactic nucleus (which harbors a 70 million M☉ supermassive black hole), Messier 81 has been studied extensively by professional astronomers. The galaxy’s large size and relatively high brightness also make it a popular target for amateur astronomers.
The Cigar Galaxy, also known as NGC 3034 or M82, is a starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the same constellation the previously mentioned M81. It is about five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way and one hundred times more luminous than our galaxy’s center. The starburst activity is thought to be triggered by interaction with neighboring galaxy M81, and M82 is a member of the M81 Group. As the closest starburst galaxy to our own, M82 is the prototypical example of this type of galaxy.
Credit: Jeff Weiss/NASA/ESO/