Alt. Designations: NGC 3031
Object Type: Spiral Galaxy
Constellation: Ursa Major
Distance: 11.8 mly
Right Ascension: 09h 55m 33.5s
Declination: +69° 04´ 02"
Visual Magnitude: 6.9
Apparent Dimension: 24.9´ x 11.5´
Best Month To View: Mar

The constellation of Ursa Major is the site of a beautiful spiral galaxy known as M81. This is one of the easiest and most rewarding galaxies for the amateur astronomer. It is a bright object, at magnitude 6.9, and can be easily located with any optical instrument. Some say it can be spotted with the naked eye under dark skies and ideal observing conditions. M81 is the brightest member of a group of galaxies called the M81 group. This galaxy is believed to have interacted with its close neighbor, M82, at some point in the past. It was also the site of a supernova explosion in 1993. M81 is located approximately 12 million light-years from Earth.