The Owl Nebula. M97 NGC 3587

M97 NGC 3587
The Owl Nebula

Object Type Planetary Nebula
Constellation Ursa Major
Magnitude 11.4
Size 3.0' x 3.0'

M97 is a large and relatively bright planetary nebula in Ursa Major, about 3 degrees south-east of Merak, the star which marks the south-western star in the bowl of the Big Dipper. The nebula can be difficult to observe under moderate light pollution because it has a rather low surface brightness. The two darker portions which give rise to the common name are visible in a 10" telescope under dark skies.

Combination of 2, 3 minute exposures, SBIG ST-8 CCD.
8" f/6.3 schmidt-cassegrain at prime focus.

Combination of 16, 3 minute exposures unfiltered.
SBIG ST-9E CCD. 14" f/11 schmidt-cassegrain with an f/6.3 focal reducer.

About one degree to the north and slightly west of M97, is the bright galaxy M 108.

Combination of 15, 3 minute exposures using red, green, and blue filters.
SBIG ST-9XE CCD. 5" f/5 refractor at prime focus.

Combination of 5, 3 minute images unfiltered.
SBIG STL-1001E CCD. 20" f/6.8 Dall-Kirkham cassegrain telescope at prime focus.

Just below the nebula, partly obscured by a star, is the 16th magnitude galaxy, PGC 344279, while just above the nebula are a number of faint galaxies, the brightest of which is the 17.4 magnitude PGC 2490291. Numerous other faint galaxies are also visible in the image.