NGC 3077

Alt. Designations: NGC 3077
Object Type: spiral galaxy
Constellation: Ursa Major
Distance: 13 mly
Right Ascension: 10h 03m 20.3s
Declination: +68° 44´ 06"
Visual Magnitude: 10
Apparent Dimension: 5.2´ X 4.7´
Best Month To View: Mar

This galaxy field in Ursa Major contains two very bright Messier galaxies: the beautiful spiral M81 and its active-core neighbour M82. The other bright galaxy in the field is NGC 3077. NGC 3077 is the smaller member of the M81 Group. While this galaxy at first appears to be a typical elliptical galaxy, a closer examination of the image below reveals several dark lanes extending from the non-uniform nucleus. The galaxy is one of the members of the M-81 group, and it is more akin to disturbed galaxy M-82 than it is to an elliptical. This is probably another group member disrupted by the gravitational force of giant spiral galaxy M-81, and as a result, it is a site of intense star formation. Supernovae have blown giant bubbles in the gas of the galaxy that can be seen as dark voids in the image.