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M81 is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light years away
Spiral Galaxy M81

M81 is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light years away that is both relatively large in the sky and bright, making it a frequent target for both amateur and professional astronomers.

This image is part of a "quartet of galaxies" collaboration of professional and amateur astronomers that combines optical data from amateur telescopes with data from the archives of NASA missions. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., controls Chandra's science and flight operations.

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: Detlef Hartmann; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Page Last Updated: May 2nd, 2014
Page Editor: Brooke Boen