M81 and M82

At twelve million light-years away, the M81 and M82 complex makes the farthest object I have photographed so far in my little journey across the cosmos. Poor M82, portrayed on the right, has been utterly misshaped by a close encounter with the much more massive M81, only a few tens of millions light year before the light they emitted reached us earthlings.

We must admit, though, it’s not M81’s fault if it homes a supermassive black hole, alleged to account for 70 million solar masses.

M81 and M81 belong to the M81 group, consisting of 34 galaxies, and being one of the closest groups to our own homely Local Group.