How to Find Messier 81, Bode's Galaxy

How to Find Messier 81, Bode's Galaxy

Messier 81 HST.jpg

Messier 81, Bode's galaxy is a spiral galaxy found about 12 million light years away. It was discovered by Johann Elert Bode in December 1774. This is a lovely face-on galaxy that is easily seen in small telescopes. It is found very close to M82 and can occupy the same field of view making a truly spectacular view of a pair of galaxies. M81 is the largest of the 34 galaxies that make up the M81 group.

Image credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Telescopic Image to Scale:


This image is the size of a full moon for size comparison.

Other Names:

Messier 81

M 81

NGC 3031

UGC 5318

PGC 28630


Magnitude = 8

Surface brightness = 13

Telescope Aperture City Suburbs Rural Dark Sky
4 inches 9 10 11 12.5
5 inches 9.5 10.5 11.5 13
6 inches 10 11 12 13.5
8 inches 10.5 11.5 12.5 14
10 inches 11 12 13 14.5

Use this chart to estimate if you can see the object from your location with your telescope. For more help on using this chart click here.

How to Find It:

This galaxy resides in the constellation of Ursa Major. It's co-ordinates are: RA 9h 56m 39.12 DEC +69° 00′ 03.1″ if you are using guiding software.

How to find Messier 81, Bode's galaxy

To find more space objects have a look at the constellation guide by clicking the link or go back to the list of deep space objects.

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