Messier 81 – M81 – Bode’s Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
M81 or Bode’s galaxy is a large bright spiral galaxy located 11.8 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Ursa Major. With an apparent magnitude of +6.9 it’s easily visible with binoculars, a fine target for small telescope owners and a wonderful sight in larger scopes. The galaxy is a striking example of a grand design spiral; a galaxy that exhibits prominent near perfect and well defined spiral arms.
M81 was discovered by Johann Elert Bode on December 31, 1774. Pierre Mechain then independently rediscovered the galaxy in August 1779. He reported his observations to Charles Messier who added them to his catalogue on February 9, 1781.
Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)