Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Messier 109
Posted on 05/23/2013 3:51:36 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: Beautiful barred spiral galaxy M109, 109th entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog of bright Nebulae and Star Clusters, is found just below the Big Dipper's bowl in the northern constellation Ursa Major. In telescopic views, its striking central bar gives the galaxy the appearance of the Greek letter "theta", θ, a common mathematical symbol representing an angle. Of course M109 spans a very small angle in planet Earth's sky, about 7 arcminutes or 0.12 degrees. But that small angle corresponds to an enormous 120,000 light-year diameter at the galaxy's estimated 60 million light-year distance. The brightest member of the now recognized Ursa Major galaxy cluster, M109 (aka NGC 3992) is joined by three spiky foreground stars strung out across this frame. The three small, fuzzy bluish galaxies also on the scene, identified left to right as UGC 6969, UGC 6940 and UGC 6923, are possibly satellite galaxies of the larger M109.
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[Credit & Copyright: Bob Franke]
But is it Messier?
Happy Birthday, ya big, good-lookin’ hunk!
And many more, my dear friend.
When I was a kid, I was told that finding this bugger would be very hard, because it’s kind of faint.
Those folks were wrong.
It sits just outside the bottom of the bowl of the Big Dipper, near Gamma UMa. A rewarding find.
You think that’s Messier - you should see my kids’ rooms.
Ha Ha Ha
So it’s off the corner of the big dipper, how much farther away? In big dipper pics I cannot see 109.
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