SAS Astronomy Picture(s) of the Month [April, 2024]

Paramecium Galaxy and M81 in Ursa Major!

We have two galaxies spotlighted this month, both from what is referred to as the M81 group in Ursa Major! The first is M81 itself, also known as Bode’s galaxy. It is called a “grand design” galaxy because of its well-defined spiral arms extending outward from a central bulge, as well as its  prominent arms winding around the nucleus. The second is a more obscure but fascinating dwarf galaxy called NGC2976, also referred to (by me and one other person in the world) as the Paramecium Galaxy. It is only about 1.3 deg away from M81 in the sky and almost completely opposite in design, with no visible arms or central bulge. The two galaxies are separated in space by “only” about 600,000 light years and located about 10 million light years away.

M81 – Photo by David Murray

Imaging details for M81:

C6 Hyperstar with an ASI294 OSC camera

IDAS NBZ narrow band Ha/OIII filter 

129  3 min. subs (total of about 6h exposure time)


Just to show you how differently people can process their images, here’s my version of M81 I did a few years back.

Paramecium Galaxy (NGC2976) – Photo by Terry Riopka

Imaging details for NGC2976:

Classic LX200 12″ SCT 

Meade Series 4000 focal reducer f/6.3

ASI2600mc cooled camera 

352 unguided  3 min. subs (total of about 17.6h exposure time)



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