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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2005

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Owl Nebula (M97), Jonathan Hirte

Owl Nebula

The Owl Nebula is known as a planetary nebula, which occurs when a star uses up all its nuclear fuel and ejects it into space. The gaseous shell formed is visible as a result of the high-energy excitation coming from the central star, which is the leftover core of the spent star. Also known as M97, the Owl Nebula was first discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781. It is one of the fainter objects in Messier's catalog, however it is brighter than it appears in pictures because most of its light is emitted in one green spectral line. (However, this image appears more red than green when the three color overlays are set to make the stars white.) Although it is uncertain how far away the nebula is, it is estimated to be around 3,000 light years away.

M97 is called the "Owl Nebula" because it appears two have two eyes that make it look like an owl's face. It's estimated linear size is 2.97 and its angular size is 3.4 x 3.3. The visual magnitude of M97 is 9.9. It is located in the Ursa Major constellation and its general catalog number is NGC 3587.

SEDS http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m097.html

David Haworth's Observtional Astronomy http://www.e-z.net/~haworth/messier/m97.html

Absolute Astronomy http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/nebulas/owl.htm


Right Ascension (J2000) 11:14.8
Declination (J2000) +55:01.00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 60 seconds in BVRC
Date observed

April 1, 2005 (C)
March 9, 2005 (BVR)