Messier 109 is a barred spiral galaxy exhibiting a weak inner ring structure around an obviously well-structured central bar approximately 83.5 ± 24 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major.

Barred galaxies are apparently predominant, with surveys showing that up to two-thirds of all spiral galaxies contain a bar. Our own Milky Way galaxy is also a barred galaxy, althought our bar is not this prominent. The current hypothesis is that the bar structure acts as a type of stellar nursery, fueling star birth at their centers. The bar is thought to act as a mechanism that channels gas inwards from the spiral arms, in effect funneling the flow to create new stars.

At 83.5 million LY away, this galaxy is 180,000 light years wide (Milky Way is about 100,000 LY wide). It contains approximately a trillion stars!

You will also see 3 companion galaxies, similar to how Milky Way has a couple of companion galaxies (known as Large & Small Magellanic Group).

I took this image over 14 hours (29 images of Luminance of 20 minutes each & 9 images each of each of 3 colors of 10 minutes each).

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