Hot image of the week: The Owl Nebula

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, May 13, 2011

I remember vividly getting my first telescope in the spring of 1977; it was a classic, orange-tubed Celestron-8, with a full set of eyepieces and other accessories. On one of my first nights under a dark sky with it, I recall vividly observing the Owl Nebula, (M97), in Ursa Major. Seeing the two dark “eyes” in the nebula’s disk was a very cool early accomplishment with that scope, I thought.

Photo credit: Don Goldman
So when Astronomy’s photo editor Michael Bakich showed me a new image of the Owl by Don Goldman this week, I was absolutely blown away. A killer! I had to share it, along with great wishes for the weekend. Don’s image amazingly shows very faint outer rings of nebulosity surrounding the core “owl face” we all know. It’s beautiful.

Don used a 16-inch f/8.9 RC Optical Systems Ritchey-Chrétien telescope on a Software Bisque Paramount ME, an Apogee U16M CCD camera, an SBIG ST-402 autoguider, and obtained a total of 10 hours exposure through H-alpha, OIII, and NII filters, and 1 hour color data through RGB filters. The image was made April 29 through May 3, 2011. Enjoy!

Tags: Nebulae
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