Messier 81(M81) or Bode’s Galaxy is a beautiful spiral galaxy that lives 12 Million light years away from us, in the constellation Ursa Major. With a right ascension of 09H and a declination of +69°, you can possible imagine in your minds eye how large this Messier Object is. Discovered in 1774 by Johann Elert Bode, the M81 was given Mr. Bode’s name sake for his discovery. With it’s proximity to Earth, large active center nucleus, M81 has been studied extensively throughout the years of astronomical study. The active center was deemed a class 1 supernovae in the spring of 1995 by F. Garcia, in Spain. This supernovae is said to be the 2ND brightest in the 21ST century! As you look at the photograph above you may notice how bright the edges of M81 are. This is due to the hot stars that are in the M81 system. These stars are so hot that they heat the space dust that is floating in the near by space surrounding M81 and enhancing the infrared dust emissions.
In my opinion this would be a great Messier Object to study if you are interested in astronomy or astrophysics, and would like to get started. I reason this to the many dynamics that M81 offers without becoming to complicating. Furthermore, M81 is very colorful, active, and full of life(in it’s own right). With the solar galactic heating of infraed dust, and the relationship to Ursa Major – you will be able to learn a lot about Ursa major as well as M81 – all at the same time. Also, this is a no-joke space object! With the mass calculations resulting in a Magnitude 6.94 Messier Object, you will certainly have your hands full with data analysis and intrigue. Enjoy the many aspects of this supernova handling M81, as we expand our knowledge of our outer space.
By: Thomas McGregor