SBIG ST-4000XCM16x15minImager Temp -20C
Celestron 9.25 Reduced 0.63
40% CropLink to Larger JPEGAstronomy Magazine Picture of the Day July 19, 2010Anacortes Telescope and Wild Bird Picture of the Day March 11, 2010Sky and Telescope Online Gallery March 18, 2010
M97 (NGC 3587), also known as the "Owl Nebula" for it's "eyes" that are seen on visual observation and in images. It is one of the more complex planetary nebulae. Its appearance has been interpreted as that of a cylindrical torus shell (or globe without poles), viewed oblique, so that the projected matter-poor ends of the cylinder correspond to the owl's eyes. This shell is enveloped by a fainter nebula of lower ionization. The mass of the nebula has been estimated to amount 0.15 solar masses, while the 16 mag central star is believed to be of about 0.7 solar masses. The nebula's age is about 6,000 years and it's distance is uncertain and listed anywhere from 1300 to 12,000 light years.
March 6, 2010