The Owl Nebula

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Obj Type
Date Taken:
Messier 97
Planetary Nebula
Mayhill, NM

The Owl Nebula Messier 97 (M97, NGC 3587) is one of the fainter objects in Messier's catalog. It is one of the four planetary nebulae in that catalog, and situated in constellation Ursa Major.

M97 was discovered by Pierre Méchain on February 16, 1781. In his description of this object, Charles Messier also mentions two other nebulous objects that he (and Méchain) have seen at about the same time, but which he had not added in his printed catalog version of 1781 (in the Connoissance des Temps for 1784). As the description is obvious and he added positions by hand in his personal copy, as well as descriptions in his manuscript personal pre-print version, we now know that he had observed the objects M108 and M109. Admiral William H. Smyth first classified it as planetary nebulae in 1844. The name "Owl Nebula" goes back to Lord Rosse, who first used it in 1848; see his drawing. In 1866, William Huggins recognized its nature as a gaseous nebula from the observation of its spectrum, where he discovered two spectral lines.

Technical Details
Exposure Time:
(L-Ha)(R-Ha)GB with 1 hour Lum, 5 hours Ha, 2 hours/channel RGB
RCOS 16 inch f/8.7 Ritchey-Chretien
Software Bisque Paramount ME
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