(IAAC) Obj: M97 (Owl Nebula) - Inst: Newt 4.2" f/4.25

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1996-1-8/9, 04:30 UT
Location: Medford, MA, USA (42N)
Site classification: urban
Limiting magnitude: 5.6
Seeing: 3+ - medium and better
Moon up: no
Instrument: Newt Reflector 4.2" f/4.25 (AstroScan)
Magnification: 20x, 40x, 65x
Filters used: None
Object: M97 (Owl Nebula)
Category: Planetary nebula
Constellation: UMa
Data: mag 11.2?  size 3'
RA/DE: 11h15m  +55o01m
Without a filter, only a hint of this lovely nebula could be
seen, using averted and fixated vision, in moments of great
seeing, at any power tried. With an OIII filter however, the
little object suddenly popped clearly into direct view! It
was then best seen at 65x - both for contrast and detail. The
Owl's easy to find star-hopping from whitish Beta Ursae Majoris,
past the neat little peculiar spiral M108. It forms a pretty
"trapeze" in medium-power fields with three roughly mag 8
stars about 15' to the N, NW, and W of it. Without the OIII,
no hint of the "eyes" of the owl could be seen of course. But
with the filter in place, the brightness of the surface was
clearly NOT uniform. Momentary good seeing was needed however
to say honestly that two distinct dark areas could be seen.
Karen Simmons & Lew Gramer dedalus@alum.mit.edu http://www.tiac.net/users/lewkaren