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Jon Greif

Location of Photo:

Alpine, CA, USA

Date/Time of photo:

June 5-6, 2024, from 9 pm to 3 am PDT


Seestar S50 "smart" scope. Processed in Pixinsight 1.8.9.


Messier 97 (M97), also known as the Owl Nebula, is a planetary nebula located in Ursa Major constellation. The nebula lies at a distance of 2,030 light years from Earth and has a diameter of 1.82 light years. It was named the Owl Nebula because of its two dark patches that looked like the eyes of an owl. The nebula formed about 8000 years ago when a dying Sun-like star ran out of hydrogen fuel, collapsed from a red giant to a white dwarf, and ejected its outer envelope. The expelled material is now heated by the radiation of the central white dwarf, producing the nebula’s glow. The nebula has been gradually expanding and will completely disperse into space over the next several thousand years, while the white dwarf will cool and fade away over the next several billion years.