M 97 – The Owl Nebula


The Owl Nebula is a planetary nebula that results from the end of life of a giant red star. When the star has burned all of its hydrogen and then its helium, its core collapses and a shell of gas is ejected. The star becomes a white dwarf which ionizes the ejected gas cloud. We know about 1500 planetary nebulae in our galaxy. It is during this process that hydrogen is transformed into heavier elements. All the elements that we find on earth other than hydrogen and helium come from these events.

The Owl nebula is in fact shaped like a cylindrical torus that we look at from an oblique angle. The two eyes of the owl are therefore the ends of the torus. This object is not very bright and requires a good size telescope to be seen properly.

Technical details:

Telescope: Celestron Edge HD14 and 0.7x focal reducer
Motnt: Celestron CGE Pro
Camera: Canon EOS T3
Filters: None
Exposure: 24 x 3 minutes at ISO 1600
Place: Backyard observatory in Sainte-Sophie, Qc
Date: March 3, 2016