This unique black and white image shows the heart of the prototypical starburst galaxy M82. M82 is a bright (eighth magnitude), nearby (12 million light-years from Earth) galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear). The ongoing violent star formation due to an ancient encounter with its large galactic neighbor, M81, gives this galaxy its disturbed appearance. Dusty lanes show dark along the bright disk while a strong galactic wind spews knotty filaments of hydrogen gas high above the disk. The white dots sprinkled along the disk are super star clusters - very bright, compact groupings of roughly 100,000 stars.

Object Name:

M82, NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy

Object Description:

Starburst Galaxy

Instrument:

ACS/WFC

Date of Observation:

February 9, 2004

Exposure Time:

12 minutes

Filters:

F658N (H alpha)

Proposal Information:

L. Ho (Carnegie Inst. of Washington), A. Barth (Univ. California – Irvine), A. Filippenko (Univ.California – Berkeley), S. Ravindranath (STScI)

Image Credit:

NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

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