The spiral galaxy M81 in Ursa Major

Using ESA's space-borne telescopes, such as XMM-Newton, astronomers can better study wonders like this in the depths of space.

M81 is the first of the four objects originally discovered by Johann Elert Bode, who found it, together with its neighbour M82, on 31 December, 1774. This image of M81 was obtained by the Optical Monitor (OM) on ESA's XMM-Newton in April 2001. The image is formed from three exposures taken with different ultraviolet filters. The M81 galaxy is at least 22 000 light-years across.

Last update: 9 March 2004

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