Ground-based overview of galacies Messier 81 and 82, zooming in on M82

600 million years ago a violent encounter between two of the Milky Way's close neighbours M81 and M82 was the cause of the creation of more than 100 young, bright, compact star clusters, known as super star clusters in M82's central region.

M82 is a nearby bright galaxy - a mere 12 million light-years away - in the constellation Ursa Major. Also today the galaxy is giving birth to new stars, and it is know as a prototypical star-birth galaxy.

European and American astronomers using the sharp vision of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveal for the first time important details of these super star clusters.

The beautiful Hubble image shows the super star clusters as compact groupings of about 100,000 stars as white spots sprinkled between M82's huge lanes of dust. The astronomers have used Hubble to date the ancient encounter between M81 and M82 and provide evidence linking the birth of the super star clusters with the interaction.

ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser & L. L. Christensen)

About the Video

Release date:7 March 2001, 15:00
Related releases:heic0103
Duration:46 s
Frame rate:30 fps

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