DR RUDOLPH SCHILD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR RUDOLPH SCHILD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Optical CCD image of the irregular galaxy M82. It belongs to the M81/M82 cluster of galaxies, that contains about 30 members and is one of the nearest to our Local Group (10.5 million light years away). The irregular shape of M82 was thought to be caused by an explosion, which occurred in its nucleus. More recent radio observations show that M82 is probably a normal spiral galaxy and its irregularity is caused by the interaction with the nearby spiral galaxy M81 (not visible here). This image was obtained with blue-green, red and near infrared filters and it may be considered a true colour version.
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