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SVX180T - Cigar

SVX180T - Cigar

Posted by Nicola Beltraminelli on 4th Jun 2024

Nicola Beltraminelli reached deep to capture this extraordinary shot of the Cigar galaxy (M82) in Ursa Major with his SVX180T. This starburst galaxy is located approximately 12 million light-years away and has a diameter of about 36,000 light-years. It is roughly 5 times more luminous than the Milky Way and its central region is about a hundred times more luminous. The starburst activity is thought to have been set off by interaction with neighboring galaxy M81.

According to Nicola:

“M82, also known as the Cigar Galaxy, is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major, about 12 million light-years away from Earth. It is a member of the M81 Group, a group of galaxies. Below a summary description from various sources”:

  1. Galaxy Type: M82 is classified as an irregular starburst galaxy. It has undergone intense star formation activity, which is evident from its irregular shape and the presence of numerous young, hot stars.
  2. Distinctive Appearance: M82 is known for its irregular and distorted appearance, caused by gravitational interactions with its larger neighbor, the spiral galaxy M81. These interactions have triggered intense bursts of star formation in M82, resulting in a high concentration of hot, young stars.
  3. Starburst Activity: M82 is one of the nearest examples of a starburst galaxy, where stars are forming at an exceptionally high rate compared to typical galaxies. This intense star formation is fueled by large reservoirs of gas and dust within the galaxy, which are being consumed at a rapid pace.
  4. Dust Lanes and Filaments: M82 exhibits prominent dust lanes and filaments, which are illuminated by the young, massive stars embedded within them. These features are particularly noticeable in images taken at infrared and radio wavelengths.
  5. Supernova Explosions: M82 is also known for its frequent supernova explosions.

“The objective of this project was to illustrate the beautiful complexity of the galaxy, to show the massive Ha extensions emanating from the nucleus and to show the presence of the surrounding IFN. Of course, all these signals have very different intensities, thus I had to play a lot on the signal stretching of the individual channels. The Ha was the most challenging, as in reality the galaxy has a very strong emission within the main body. So, to show the extensions I had to artificially dim the signal from the main body of the galaxy. The IFN dust is also very faint, thus I had to stretch it from the main body of the galaxy as well. This image is therefore a representation of very peculiar phenomena within this region.”


Imaging Telescope: Stellarvue SVX180T

Imaging Camera: ZWO ASI6200mm Pro

Mounts: 10 Micron GM2000 HPS 50mm


  • Astrodon H-alpha 5nm 50mm
  • Chroma Blue 50mm
  • Chroma Clear 50mm
  • Chroma Green 50mm
  • Chroma Red 50mm


  • Adobe Lightroom Classic
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Pleiades Astrophoto PixInsight
  • Stephan Berg Nightime Imaging 'N' Astronomy (N.I.N.A./NINA)

Other Designations: Cigar Galaxy, M82, Messier 82, NGC 3034.

AstroBin: For more details and an in-depth look at this image, visit Nicola’s AstroBin.


Salvatore Iovene - (n.d.). M82 cigar galaxy in LRGB-Ha and the surrounding IFN. AstroBin.

Jones, T. (2023, March 10). M81 and M82. AstroBackyard.

Wikipedia contributors. (2024, May 31). Messier 82. Wikipedia.

APOD: M82: Galaxy with a Supergalactic Wind (2023 Aug 02) - Starship Asterisk*. (n.d.).

Plotner, T. (2015, December 25). In depth Observing - M81 and M82 - Universe Today. Universe Today.