Starburst Galaxy M82

The nearby interacting starburst galaxy Messier 82 (NGC 3034), in a slightly odd color-composite CCD image. Here, the red filter was a narrow-band one that passed H-alpha emission from the galaxy, highlighting the outflow of ionized gas driven by the starburst which has raged through much of M82 but most strongly in the central regions. Below is an older image with similar processing (continuity of links and all that).

More detail of the dust in M82's disk is shown in a slower-contrast image highlighting the inner regions:

and in this monochrome rendering of the narrowband image including H-alpha:

In such an actively star-forming galaxy, things happen. This SARA image (from 30 January 2014) shows supernova 2014J near one of the dust lanes:

M82 is interacting with M81, with a huge connecting envelope of neutral hydrogen; this interaction, with NGC 3077 as a co-cospirator, is also very likely responsible for triggering the beautiful grand-design spiral pattern that makes M81 such a favorite. The gr composite image below, from the University of Alabama Crimson Dragon wide-field system, shows M81, M82, their neighbor NGC 3077, and some dwarf companions. Additional faint light across the field comes not from the M81 group but dust ("cirrus") in our own galaxy, forming what is sometimes called an integrated-flux nebula.

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