Universe Guide

Bode's Galaxy (M81, NGC3031) Facts and How to Find

Bode's Galaxy (M81, NGC3031) Facts and How to Find Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major

Bode's Galaxy (M81, NGC3031) is a spiral galaxy object of interest in space. It lies at a distance of between 11,400,000.00 and 12,200,000.00 light years away in the constellation of Ursa Major.

It is referred to as M(81) when it was catalogued by Charles Messier in 18th - 19th Century France. It is also referred to as NGC(3031) in the New General Catalogue. This is a list of deep space objects that was compiled by John Louis Emil Dreyer in 1888 in an update to John Herschel earlier catalogue.

The Spiral Galaxy's location is 09:55.6 (R.A.) and +69:04 (Dec.). Its Visual (Apparent) Brightness is 7.00 Magnitude with an apparent dimension of 21x10 . The object can not be seen by the naked eye from Earth, you need a telescope to see it.

Bode's Galaxy (M81, NGC3031) has a radius of 45,000 light years or to put it another way, it has a diameter of 90,000 light years. It would take a space ship 90,000 years travelling at the speed of light to get from one side to the other.

Bodes galaxy (M81, NGC3031) is a spiral galaxy that was discovered in 1774 by astronomer Johann Elert Bode from where it gets it name from. Although it can't easily be seen with the naked if at all, a good pair of binoculars or telescope should be able to help spot it.

The galaxy is the biggest in the M-81 group of galaxies. The group contains 34 galaxies. The grouping also includes the familiar Cigar Galaxy which is an irregular galaxy.

The supernova SN1993J is the second brightest supernova event of the twentieth century. It was spotted on 28th March 1993 by Francisco Diaz. Messier. The explosion was caused by the death of a Giant Stars and was either a type Ib or a IIb, the difference being that a II is caused by giant stars and a Ib is by the collapse of the core of a massive star.

Bode's Galaxy contains a large number of blue stars which indicates youth and star formation. It is believed that an event or encounter with a nearby galaxy such as NGC 3077 was what caused the new bout of star formation. Older redder stars can be found nearer the centre of the galaxy. Hubblesite

The Supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy is significantly much larger than that of the milky way galaxy. It is 15 times the mass of our galaxy.

It is just like any other galaxy though. There could be planets orbiting the stars in the galaxy but the galaxy is too far to definitively say so. We do know that other galaxies such as the Andromeda Galaxy does have planets. Unless we had a spaceship as powerful as the Tardis, we will never visit there and know for certain.

How to find and see the Bode's Galaxy (M81, NGC3031)

The site assumes that you are viewing from London in the Northern Hemisphere and from Sydney in the Southern Hemisphere and are looking at the sky about 9 p.m. If you are looking at another time or location, you will need to adjust for your location.

Northern Hemisphere

Bode's Galaxy is visible the whole year round in the Northern Hemisphere. The further north you are, the better the chances of seeing it. Any further south than Miami, you will not be able to it all year round. For Miami, the worst month to look for it is November when it is extremely low. Ursa Major constellation may be below the horizon in Miami but as the galaxy is at the northern end of the constellation, it is still visible.

Southern Hemisphere

Bode's Galaxy is not visible from the Southern Hemisphere because of its location in its constellation. If you are in Darwin, the only months you will be able to see the galaxy is April and May.

Travel Time to Bode's Galaxy (M81, NGC3031)

The time it will take to travel to this star is dependent on how fast you are going. U.G. has done some calculations as to how long it will take going at differing speeds. A note about the calculations, when I'm talking about years, I'm talking non-leap years only (365 days).

The New Horizons space probe is the fastest probe that we've sent into space at the time of writing. Its primary mission was to visit Pluto which at the time of launch (2006), Pluto was still a planet.

DescriptionSpeed (m.p.h.)Time (years)
Airbus A38073610,387,268,438,315.22
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.2699,963,949,502,195.45
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.544,981,968,257,979.59
New Horizons Probe33,000231,667,562,745.45
Speed of Light670,616,629.0011,400,000.00

Fact File

NameBode's Galaxy (M81, NGC3031)
TypeSpiral Galaxy
Messier Id81
NGC Id3031
ConstellationUrsa Major
Right Ascension09:55.6
Distance (Lt.Yr)11,400,000 -12,200,000
Radius (Lt.Yr)45,000.00
Apparent Dimension21x10
Visual / Apparent Magnitude7.00
Naked Eye VisibleRequires a 7x50 Binoculars - Magnitudes
Year of Discovery1774
DiscovererJohann Elert Bode
Morphological TypeSAab C
CoprightN.A.S.A, Hubble Site

Location of Bode's Galaxy (M81, NGC3031) Facts and How to Find in Ursa Major

Bode's Galaxy (M81, NGC3031) Facts and How to Find Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major

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