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Cigar Galaxy

The Cigar galaxy is a bright starburst galaxy in the constellation of Ursa Major.

The Cigar galaxy is also and more commonly known as Messier 82 or NGC 30 34. The galaxy was discovered in 1774 and was then reconfirmed as a galaxy and introduced into the Messier catalogue, hence being named as an M galaxy with the M standing for Messier, after the famous astronomer Charles Messier.  


The Cigar galaxy is a small but very luminous galaxy with over 30 billion stars. The galaxy is so bright that it’s several times brighter than our own Milky Way galaxy, with the center of the galaxy being over 100 times brighter. The brightest Pulsar ever discovered is also found this galaxy. What’s also strange about the Cigar galaxy is that there have been some starbursts recorded, along with a Supernova in 2014 and even a strange recorded unknown object.

Key Data

Size: Diameter of 18,500 light years.

Star Population: 30 billion.

Distance from Earth: 12 million light years.

Galaxy Type: Starburst.

Constellation: Ursa Major.


Kids Fun Facts Corner

# 1. The Cigar galaxy was discovered in 1774.

# 2. The Cigar galaxy is a starburst galaxy.

# 3. The Cigar galaxy is home to Pulsar M82 X-2.


Q&A Corner

Q. In what year was the Cigar galaxy discovered?

Q. What size is the Cigar galaxy?

Q. What type of galaxy is the Cigar galaxy?

Q. What constellation is the Cigar galaxy in? 

Q. How many stars are in the Cigar galaxy?

Download questions about the Cigar galaxy here: Cigar Galaxy (answer are on this page)

For further reading and more on the Cigar galaxy visit

Key Vocabulary Galaxy. Constellation. Spiral. Light Years. 


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