M81 and M82 (Jean-François Fortin)

Big Bear Galaxy Pair M81 & 82 by Jean-François Fortin

Two of the Spring sky’s finest galaxies captured in one image earn Photo of the Week honours.

Photo of the Week for April 27, 2018

Spring evenings are ideal for galaxy hunting. Two of the finest springtime galaxies are the Ursa Major duo of M81 and M82, now positioned nearly overhead as twilight fades to night. This bright pair couldn’t be more different. M81 is a large, elegant spiral, while M82 is a smaller, “irregular” galaxy misshapen by tidal forces from its neighbour. Both objects are moderately easy targets for small telescopes used under dark skies—their contrasting shapes are evident even in backyard scopes. The celestial odd couple is presented nicely in this portrait by Jean-François Fortin.

M81 and M82 (Jean-François Fortin)

Jean-François imaged the galaxies from Saint-Sauveur, Quebec, with a Sony Alpha a6000 digital camera and a Vixen VMC200L catadioptric telescope fitted with a focal reducer (for a working focal length of 1,350mm). The completed photo combines 30, 240-second exposures shot at ISO 1600.