M81 = NGC3031 ( 9h 55.6m +6904, 6.8 mag. )

This large bright spiral galaxy in Ursa Major was discovered by Bode in Dec. 1774. Messier observed it on Feb. 9, 1781. Easily visible in binoculars, it forms striking pair with M82 just 40' N (see finder chart below). Located about 4.5 - 9 million ly away, M81 has a diameter of approximately 40,000 ly.

The above image was taken on March 18, 1998 from my backyard observatory in Sooke, BC. Cookbook 245 LDC CCD camera was used on Celestron Ultima 8 f6.3 telescope autoguided with Cookbook 211 LDC camera on piggybacked 500mm f8 telephoto lens. Eight unfiltered integrations (240 sec. each) were processed with AIP4WIN.

North is to the right.

The wide angle view of M81 below was acquired on January 29, 2000 from Sooke BC. Cookbook 254LDC camera was used of Celestron Ultima 8 SCT f3.0 without guiding. Fifteen white images (240 sec. each) as well as cyan, magenta and yellow-filtered integrations (3 x 240 sec. each) were processed with AIP4WIN and adjusted in Lab color space using Corel PhotoPaint 8.

North is to the right.

Map created in Guide 7.0 - 745' x 10. North is up.

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Jan Wisniewski