This is a 65 minute exposure with an STL-1301E CCD camera taken thru Kopernik's 20-inch telescope. The field of view is about 20x23 arc minutes.
Quote from Dreyer's New General Catalog(NGC):
"Considerably bright, very large, westward
moderately extended, abruptly brighter middle, bright resolvable, but mottled
nucleus; = M109."
Quote from The Deep Sky Field Guide to Uranometria 2000:
"Very bright, diffuse nucleus, bright smooth bar with dark lane 1.7x0.5, three main filamentary arms with some branching."
Pierre Mechain: ?A nebula
close to Gamma in Ursa Major.?
Pierre Mechain discovered this barred spiral galaxy in 1781 or 1782. Messier's unpublished notes show that he knew of Mechain's discovery, and it is therefore often added to modern listings of the Messier catalog.
M-109 is included in a class of galaxies with active nuclei known as LINERs (Low-Ionization Nuclear Emission-line Regions). At least some LINERs are less energetic versions of Seyfert galaxies. Many astronomers believe that active galactic nuclei are powered by the giant black holes lurking in the centers of galaxies. (see also M-77).
The distance to M-109 is roughly 55 million light years, and its diameter is 122,000 light years.
Barred Spiral Galaxy, Mixed Inner Ring - S-shaped
George Normandin, KAS
June 1st, 2009