M81 M82 and Holmberg IX
This image contains examples of three different types of
galaxies. M81 (Left), a spiral galaxy
also known as Bode’s nebula was discovered by Johann Bode in 1774. Up until the early 1920’s the billions of
other galaxies in the universe were thought to be “spiral nebulae” consisting
of cloudy spiral shaped collections of gases and dust within our known universe
the Milky Way galaxy. Edwin Hubble
discovered that these objects were actually other galaxies based on variable
stars within what was then known as the Andromeda nebula.
M82, an irregular starburst galaxy is also known as the
“Cigar” galaxy. It’s center is a very
energetic and dense star forming region.
At the top of M81 is a smudge known as Holmberg IX. Holmberg IX is a dwarf irregular galaxy which
orbits the larger M81 galaxy. At 200
million years it’s one of the youngest galaxies in the universe.
M81, M82 and Holmberg IX are 12 million light years distant
in the constellation Ursa Major.
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