(IAAC) Obj: M 97 (Owl nebula) - Inst: 8" f/10 SCT, 8x50

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1997-11-29/30, 03:10 UT
Location: Miles Standish State Forest, Carver, MA, USA (41N)
Site classification: rural
Limiting magnitude: 6.6 (zenith), 6.2 (in NE)
Seeing: 2 of 10 - excellent
Moon up: no
Instrument: 8" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain, fork equatorial, 8x50mm finder
Magnification: 80x, 170x, 340x
Filters used: None, UHC
Object: M97 (Owl)
Category: Planetary nebula [3a]
Constellation: UMa
Data: mag 12.0  size 194"
RA/DE: 11h15m  +55o01m
M97 was swept up tonight just a quick jaunt 1o SE past M108 (see
observation for same night), past an intermediate mag. 7 star,
and near the NE corner of a faint "Corvus"-shaped asterism of
mag 11 stars near mag 6 star HD 97302. This famous little bird
was easily recognizable at 80x without a filter, as the "eyes"
of the famous face contrasted well with the bright, round haze.
Using a UHC in front of the eyepiece, still more mottling was
apparent on the wide, flat disk. At 170x without a UHC, little
additional detail could be seen - strangely only a few of the
fainter darkened regions in the mottled face actually appeared
more prominent. Among those higher contrast regions noted at
this power were two near the E and W extremes of the disc. But
one additional detail at this power, which was only confirmed
by interposing the UHC again, was the existence of a faint halo
or outer loop around the main bright face of the disk: this was
a tiny, mostly averted vision extension to the face, seen most
easily in the NE. Finally at 340x, the disk was too washed out
to even consider using UHC, and no additional detail was noted.