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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2010

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Owl Nebula , Stephen Clark

Owl Nebula

This planetary form known as the Owl Nebula was first discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781. Other names for the nebula include Messier Object 97, and NGC 3587. The Owl Nebula was given its name by Lord Rosse in 1848 who observed the dark, circular, "owl-like eyes," that can be seen in the photograph. Located in the constellation Ursa Major, the Owl Nebula is believed to be around 6,000 years old.

The Nebula is one of the fainter objects found in Messier's catalog. It is also one of the more complex planetary nebulae. The structure appears to be spherical in nature with three distinct, brighter, stars in the center. The angular size of the nebula is roughly 3 arcminutes in diameter. The distance is estimated to be 2,600 light years away which makes the linear size roughly 2.2 thousand light years in diameter.



Frommert, Hartmut and Kronberg, Christine. "Messier 97." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.


Owl Nebula


Right Ascension (J2000) 11:14:48.00
Declination (J2000) +55:01:00.0
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 60 seconds per filter
Date observed

March 3, 2010 (BVRC)