m97 ngc 3587 planetary nebula owl in ursa major

planetary nebula m97 ursa major

The Owl Nebula (also known as Messier Object 97 or NGC 3587) is a planetary nebula in the constellation Ursa Major. It was discovered by Pierre M?chain in 1781.

M97 is regarded as one of the more complex of the planetaries. The 16th magnitude central star has about 0.7 solar mass and the nebula itself about 0.15 solar mass. The nebula formed roughly 6,000 years ago.

The nebula gets it name due to the appearance of owl-like "eyes" when view through a large (>200 mm) telescope under dark sky conditions with the aid of a so-called "nebula filter." The "eyes" are also easily visible through photographs taken of the nebula.