The Messier 81 Galaxy, also known as M81 (catalogued by French astronomer Charles Messier) or Bode's Galaxy (named after Johann Bode who discovered it in 1774), is a magnificent spiral galaxy located in the northern constellation of Ursa Major. One of the brightest galaxies in the skies of planet earth, M81 is also the home to the second brightest supernova seen in modern times.
Messier 81 is tilted at an oblique angle, giving earth's viewers a "birds-eye view" of its spiral structure. Since this galaxy can easily be viewed with a small telescope, it has become quite a popular target for amateur astronomy observations.
This superbly detailed color composite from images taken in blue, visible, and infrared light from NASA's Hubble space telescope in 2006 reveals that M81 contains a bright yellow nucleus (made up of long-burning yellow suns), grand blue spiral arms (made up of hotter, quick-burning blue stars as well as cooler magenta stars speckled throughout), and cosmic dust lanes that not only sweep all the way to its nucleus but also have a scale comparable to the Milky Way.
Contrary to M81's other prominent spiral features, a remarkable dust lane also runs straight through the disk, below and right of the galactic center. This errant dust lane may be the lingering result of a close encounter between M81 and its smaller companion galaxy, M82. Scrutiny of variable stars in M81 (such as NGC 3031) has yielded one of the best determined distances for this external galaxy — approximately 11.8 million light-years.
Without a doubt, the big and beautiful Messier 81 Galaxy testifies to a brilliant Designer. While some people stubbornly insist upon an unproven "Big Bang" theory to explain the existence of the universe, the Bible reveals that God is the Creator of all things; and He knows every star by name (Psalm 147:4).
"Lift up your eyes on high," the Bible says, "and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth" (Isaiah 40:26). Indeed, the best explanation for the countless stars and galaxies like M81 is not the modern theory of evolution but the ancient truth of God's Word.