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Galaxies M81 and M82

Galaxies M81 and M82

R856/0056

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Credit

ROBERT GENDLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROBERT GENDLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Interacting galaxies M81 and M82, optical image. The much larger M81 (left) has passed very close to M82 (right) several times in the last few hundred million years. These interactions greatly distorted the shape of M82, which lies only 150,000 light years from M81. M82 is irregular in shape and is crossed by dark dust lanes, and has pronounced regions of starbirth activity. These galaxies lie around 12 million light years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major.

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