Thursday, April 21, 2011

Scrutinizing starburst galaxy M82

Closeup of M82. 
200mm SCT, f/10, 25mm eyepiece, binoviewer, light pollution filter.
2 April 2011; 21:45UT. Seeing: good.

M82 in Ursa Major has excited much lively interest and speculation ever since its irregular form was noticed in the late 18th century. It is a complex object to sketch and it takes around an hour of averted visual observation with my scope to bring out the details. The central portion has uneven brilliance, having a prominent diagonal dark streak flanked by a weaker one further to the right. It is truly a sight that captures your imagination.

Pale and elongated” 
                                         J.E. Bode, 31-XII, 1780
Beautiful ray of light” 
                                         W. Herschel, 30-XI, 1802
Nebula without star, its light is faint and elongated” 
                                         C. Messier, 9-II, 1781
“...luminous and sparkling…with two nuclei eccentrically placed on the major axis
                                         H. d’Arrest, 1822-1875

Intensity sketch drawn at the eyepiece on which sketch is based

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