M 97 Owl Nebula

M   97  Owl Nebula

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I had been stalking this elusive creature for three weeks as it coyly hid behind cloudy or moon lit nights from its perch just behind the cup of the Big Dipper. I finally captured its wide peering eyes and uniquely colored feathery face of expanding stellar material from the throes of a dying star. The shell of this planetary “Owl Nebula? – M97 is estimated to be 1.3 light years across and still expanding at an approximate rate of 25 miles per second. MCG9-19-14, is the faint magnitude 16.1 face-on spiral galaxy (barely touching a foreground star) visible at 1:00 o’clock above M97. Upon closer inspection, quite a few other faint and distant galaxies are also discernable in this photo. This image was taken through my favorite scope, an Astrophysics 5? Starfire f8 apochromat and 3.5 hours worth of exposure with a cooled Atik 16HR camera. Guiding was courtesy of an SBIG STV through a tiny eFinder guidescope with only a 1? main objective and 4? focal length. The whole ensemble was carried on the shoulders of a well behaved Losmandy Titan mount seated on a 5,000ft mountain in Stardust Observatory, Baguio.

Coordinates       :

Ursa Major 11h 15’ +54deg 58’

Date Imaged       :

March 11 - 13, 2007

Lens       :

Astrophysics 5? f8 Starfire

Camera       :

Atik 16HR, Astronomik filters

Exposure       :

LRGB = 90:38:35:45 minutes

Mount       :

Losmandy Titan

Location       :

Stardust Observatory, Baguio, Philippines