M81 (NGC 3031)
Discovered by Johan Bode in 1774, and sometimes referred to as Bode's Nebula, M81 is one of the easiest and most rewarding galaxies for amateur astronomers in the northern hemisphere and, under exceptional seeing conditions, has even been glimpsed with the naked eye.
A few hundred million years ago, a close encounter took place between M81 and its smaller, near-neighbor, M82, during which the latter was dramatically deformed. The encounter has also left traces in the spiral pattern of M81. The galaxies are still close together – their centers separated by as little as 150,000 light-years.
Related categories MESSIER CATALOGUE
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