Messier Objects

M97 "Owl Nebula": Planetary Nebula (Ursa Major) RA: 11h 14.8m / DEC: +55° 01'.1
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder

The bowl of the Big Dipper is home to several impressive Messier objects. Most are galaxies. But among this collection of star cities, there resides a lone planetary nebula called the Owl. M97 is located near 2.3 magnitude Merak, the bottom right star in the Dipper's bowl. Center Merak and slew 2.3 degrees to the southeast. Careful, you might run across M108 along the way. The Owl Nebula begins to show its namesake features in apertures as small as 8-inches. My drawing captures the view at 129X in the 10-inch Starfinder. M97 appears 2'.5 across with a bright hourglass feature running north-northeast to south-southwest. This provides the framework for the owl's face. The fainter east-southeast and west-northwest portions form the large, hollow eyes of the owl. The star to the immediate northeast is a 12th magnitude GSC star.

M95 & M96 M98


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Revised: February 15, 2002 [WDF]