M82 — the Cigar Galaxy

M82 in Ursa Major (NGC 3034), is commonly referred to as  the “Cigar Galaxy”. A favorite object for amateur astronomers and astrophotographers, since it is both bright (magnitude 8.4) and relatively big (11.2′ x 4.3′), M82 has other interesting features. It is a starburst galaxy, and the closest one to the earth. The intense star formation was presumably triggered by interactions with its neighbor, M81, ages ago. In 2014 both a supernova and a pulsar were discovered within M82. For amateur astrophotographers, the “coolest” feature in M82 is the visually stunning collection of hydrogen alpha jets that emanate from the core.

Technical details are as follows:

In 2002 2.5 hours of LRGB data was acquired from MYHY Observatory in the Philadelphia suburbs using an OGS 10″ RC @ f/9 and SBIG ST10 XME (image scale 0.6″/pixel); in 2018 16 hours of Ha data was acquired from MYHY Observatory using a Tak FCT-150 @ f/7 and SBIG ST10 XME (image scale 1.3″/pixel).  Processing was in PixInsight and Photoshop.