Also known as the Cigar Galaxy for its elongated visual appearance,
M82 is a starburst galaxy
with a superwind.
through ensuing supernova explosions and
powerful winds from massive stars,
the burst of star formation in M82
is driving the prodigous outflow of material.
for the superwind from the galaxy's central regions
is clear in
sharp composite image,
based on data from small telescopes
on planet Earth.
The composite highlights emission from
filaments of atomic hydrogen gas in reddish hues.
The filaments extend for over 10,000 light-years.
Some of the gas in the superwind,
enriched in heavy elements
forged in the massive stars,
will eventually escape into intergalactic space.
Triggered by a close encounter with
nearby large galaxy M81,
the furious burst of star formation in M82 should last about
100 million years or so.
M82 is 12 million light-years distant, near the northern boundary of