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Messier Gallery

Tri-color image of M82

M82 (NGC 3034), a 9th-magnitude irregular galaxy in Ursa Major.

M82 is estimated to be 10-20 million light-years away. It is a "starburst" galaxy, in which a major wave of star formation is taking place. A likely explanation for this is a close encounter with M81. Images taken in the light of ionized hydrogen show filaments of gas being blown out of M82's polar regions, from powerful stellar winds and/or supernova explosions. 60-second image, 19 Nov 1995, 13:47 UT.

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