Galaxies  Back to Photo Gallery - Galaxies
 M81 - Bode's Galaxy 

Low Resolution            Mid Resolution            Full Resolution

One of the brightest galaxies in planet Earth's sky and similar in size to the Milky Way, big, beautiful spiral M81 lies 11.8 million light-years away in the northern constellation Ursa Major. This image of the region reveals details in the bright yellow core, but at the same time follows fainter features along the galaxy's gorgeous blue spiral arms and sweeping dust lanes. It also follows the expansive, arcing feature, known as Arp's loop, that seems to rise from the galaxy's disk at the bottom-right. Studied in the 1960s, Arp's loop has been thought to be a tidal tail, material pulled out of M81 by gravitational interaction with its large neighboring galaxy M82. But a recent investigation demonstrates that much of Arp's loop likely lies within our own galaxy. The loop's colors in visible and infrared light match the colors of pervasive clouds of dust, relatively unexplored galactic cirrus only a few hundred light-years above the plane of the Milky Way. M81's dwarf companion galaxy, Holmberg IX, can be seen just right of the large spiral. On the sky, this image spans about 0.5 degrees, about the size of the Full Moon. [Text adapted from APOD]

Optics: GSO RC 10" F8 2000mm - Astrograph Ritchie-Chrétien
Mount: AP Mach1 GTO on Gemini Q-Lock tripod
Camera: QSI-640WSG
Filters: Astrodon LRGB 1.25" I Series Gen II
Guiding Systems: SXV-AO-LF Active Optics - SX Lodestar
Dates/Times: 15 Febraury 2013
Location: Castelmagno - Cuneo (Italy)
Exposure Details: L:R:G:B => 200:32:32:32 = > (20x10):(4x8):(4x8):(4x8) color Bin2 [num x minutes]
Cooling Details: -35 °C
Acquisition: Maxim DL/CCD, TheSkyX, Voyager
Processing: CCDStack2+, PS CS5, PI
Mean FWHM: 2.78"
SQM-L: 21.54