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Contains:  Owl nebula, M 97, NGC 3587
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Messier 97 - the Owl Nebula in Ursa Major, 


            Steve Milne
Messier 97 - the Owl Nebula in Ursa Major

Messier 97 - the Owl Nebula in Ursa Major

Technical card

Resolution: 1813x1423

Dates:May 26, 2017March 11, 2019

Astrodon Ha 3nm: 18x1200" bin 1x1
Astrodon Ha 3nm: 12x1800" bin 1x1
Astrodon OIII 3nm: 18x1200" bin 1x1
Astrodon OIII 3nm: 12x1800" bin 1x1

Integration: 24.0 hours

Avg. Moon age: 2.63 days

Avg. Moon phase: 10.85% job: 2600217

RA center: 168.698 degrees

DEC center: 55.018 degrees

Pixel scale: 0.744 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 269.754 degrees

Field radius: 0.238 degrees

Locations: Home Observatory, Doncaster, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom; E-EyE, Fregenal de la Sierra, Extremadura, Spain

Data source: Unknown


Messier 97 (NGC 3587) is a planetary nebula approximately 2,030 light years away (though sources vary considerably in this estimate) in the constellation of Ursa Major. It is estimated to be around 6,000 to 8,000 years old.

M97 was first observed by Pierre Méchain on 16 February 1781. Early sketches - notably the 1848 sketch of William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse (and owner/operator of the 'Leviathan of Parsonstown') - showed a circular object with two dark shadows - resembling the face of an owl. The object has been known as the Owl Nebula ever since.

I have imaged this target twice: once in 2017 from my home observatory in the UK using a Skywatcher Esprit 120 and QSI 690 camera; and again in 2019 using a TEC 140ED along with the same camera, but from a remote imaging rig in Spain owned and operated by Barry Wilson and me. For this image, I decided to combine both data sets.

I found that the OIII signal was significanly stronger than the Ha, and it was a challenge to make the Ha visible at all. In my previous attempt to process just the 2017 data, I think I erred in making the Ha much more prominent than is, in fact, the case. I hope that this is a more balanced and 'realistic' presentation.

The image is uploaded at 100% resolution. However, I found nothing of any great significance surrounding M97 and I decided, therefore, to crop the image to make the object more prominent in reduced size previews.

Capture Details:

14 to 27 May 2017:

Telescope: Skywatcher Esprit 120
Camera: QSI 690
Filters: Astrodon 3nm NB
Mount: Mesu 200

Ha: 12 x 1800s
OIII: 12 x 1800s

25 February to 11 March 2019:

Telescope: TEC 140
Camera: QSI 690
Filters: Astrodon 3nm NB
Mount: 10 Micron GM2000HPS

Ha: 18 x 1200s
OIII: 18 x 1200s

Giving a total exposure time of 24 hours

Data: Steve Milne & Barry Wilson
Processing: Steve Milne



Steve Milne
License: None (All rights reserved)

Sky plot

Sky plot


Messier 97 - the Owl Nebula in Ursa Major, 


            Steve Milne