Pictures of Bode's Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy
Images of M81 and M82, the pair of interacting galaxies known as Bode's Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy, including facts and the history of their discovery.
Bode's Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy are M81 and M82, respectively, in the Messier Catalogue. They are a pair of galaxies that can be found in the constellation of Ursa Major.
Bode's Galaxy is one of the brightest galaxies in the night sky and is located about 11.5 million lightyears from Earth. It can even be seen through a pair of binoculars, appearing as a fuzzy patch along side its companion, the Cigar Galaxy.
It's named after Johann Elert Bode, who discovered the galaxy in 1774, and is a very popular target for those who like to engage in a spot of deep-sky astronomy and astrophotography because young, hot, blue stars can be seen peppered within its spiral arms.
The Cigar Galaxy, or M82, is known for its elongated shape as seen from Earth and high levels of star formation. As a result, it's known as a 'starbust' galaxy, and this burst of star birth is a result of gravitational interactions with Bode's Galaxy.
In fact, according to NASA, stars are being born around the galaxy's centre about 10 times as quickly as they are throughout the entirety of our home galaxy the Milky Way.
Like Bode's Galaxy, the Cigar Galaxy was also discovered by Johann Elert Bode, and is found 12 million lightyears from Earth, also in Ursa Major.
Both galaxies are best seen in springtime. See if you can do a spot of binocular astronomy and catch them both in the same field of view!
Below is a selection of images of Bode's Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy captured by BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers and astrophotographers from around the world.