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Hemisphere:  Northern  ·  Contains:  M 97, NGC 3587, Owl Nebula
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M97 • Owl Nebula in HaOIIIRGB, 


            Douglas J Struble
M97 • Owl Nebula in HaOIIIRGB
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M97 • Owl Nebula in HaOIIIRGB

Technical card

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Explore Scientific 152 mm Carbon Fiber

Imaging cameras: ZWO ASI1600MM-PRO

Mounts: Astro-Physics Mach 1 GTO

Guiding telescopes or lenses: Orion 80mm Short Tube

Guiding cameras: Starlight Xpress Lodestar x2

Software: PHD2  ·  Sequence Generator Pro  ·  PixInsight  ·  Photoshop CS5  ·  SkySafari Pro

Filters: Astrodon Ha 5nm  ·  Astrodon Green Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2  ·  Astrodon Blue Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2  ·  Astrodon Red Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2  ·  Astrodon OIII 3nm

Accessory: QHYCCD PoleMaster  ·  Hotech 2" SCA Self-Centering Field Flattener  ·  ZWO 8x 1.25" Filter Wheel (EFW)  ·  MoonLite CFL 2.5" Large Format Focuser

Dates:March 17, 2019March 19, 2019Feb. 27, 2020March 14, 2020March 15, 2020March 16, 2020

Astrodon Blue Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2: 20x60" (gain: 0.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astrodon Green Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2: 20x60" (gain: 0.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astrodon Ha 5nm: 783x120" (gain: 200.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astrodon OIII 3nm: 976x120" (gain: 200.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astrodon Red Tru-Balance E-Series Gen 2: 20x60" (gain: 0.00) -20C bin 1x1

Integration: 59.6 hours

Darks: ~50

Flats: ~50

Bias: ~250

Avg. Moon age: 15.12 days

Avg. Moon phase: 61.82%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 8.00

Basic astrometry details job: 3328890

RA center: 11h 14' 47"

DEC center: +55° 1' 8"

Pixel scale: 0.325 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 52.980 degrees

Field radius: 0.164 degrees

Resolution: 2839x2271

Locations: Backyard White Zone Observatory, Taylor, MI, Michigan, United States

Data source: Backyard


This proved to be a very challenging object to process. Not only did I want to capture the OIII being ejected out, but also the details of the core. I combined 12 hours of data in Ha and OIII from 2019 with data I just captured in 2020 in HaOIIIRGB. RGB was only captured for the stars.

The Owl Nebula (also known as Messier 97, M97 or NGC 3587) is a planetary nebula located approximately 2,030 light years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It was discovered by French astronomer Pierre Méchain on February 16, 1781. When William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, observed the nebula in 1848, his hand-drawn illustration resembled an owl's head. It has been known as the Owl Nebula ever since.

The nebula is approximately 8,000 years old. It is approximately circular in cross-section with a little visible internal structure. It was formed from the outflow of material from the stellar wind of the central star as it evolved along the asymptotic giant branch. The nebula is arranged in three concentric shells, with the outermost shell being about 20–30% larger than the inner shell. The owl-like appearance of the nebula is the result of an inner shell that is not circularly symmetric, but instead forms a barrel-like structure aligned at an angle of 45° to the line of sight.

The nebula holds about 0.13 solar masses of matter, including hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur; all with a density of less than 100 particles per cubic centimeter. Its outer radius is around 0.91 ly (0.28 pc) and it is expanding with velocities in the range of 27–39 km/s into the surrounding interstellar medium.

The 14th magnitude central star has since reached the turning point of its evolution where it condenses to form a white dwarf. It has 55–60% of the Sun's mass, 41–148 times the brightness of the Sun, and an effective temperature of 123,000 K. The star has been successfully resolved by the Spitzer Space Telescope as a point source that does not show the infrared excess characteristic of a circumstellar disk.



Douglas J Struble
License: None (All rights reserved)

Sky plot

Sky plot


M97 • Owl Nebula in HaOIIIRGB, 


            Douglas J Struble