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Owl Nebula

M97 SSRO
Image captured by the Star Shadows Remote Observatory

Observation Data
Epoch: J2000
Right Ascension: 11h 14m 47.734s
Declination: +55° 01′ 08.50″
Constellation: Ursa Major
Apparent Dimensions (V): 3′.4 × 3′.3
Apparent Magnitude (V): 9.9
Absolute Magnitude (V):
Characteristics
Type: 3a
Radius: 0.91 ly (0.28 pc)
Astrometry
Helio Radial Velocity:
Redshift:
Distance: 2,030 ly (621 pc)
Other Designations
M97, NGC 3587, PN G148.4+57.0

The Owl Nebula is a planetary nebula located approximately 2,030 light years away in the constellation Ursa Major.[1] This object is known by the catalogue identifiers Messier Object 97 (M97) and NGC 3587. It was discovered by French astronomer Pierre Méchain on February 16, 1781.[2] When William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse observed the nebula in 1848, his hand-drawn illustration resembled an owl's head. It has been known as the owl nebula ever since.[3]

The nebula is approximately 8,000 years old.[4] It is approximately circular in cross-section with a little visible internal structure. It was formed from the outflow of material from the stellar wind of the central star as it evolved along the asymptotic giant branch.[5] The nebula is arranged in three concentric shells, with the outermost shell being about 20–30% larger than the inner shell.[6] The owl-like appearance of the nebula is the result of an inner shell that is not circularly symmetric, but instead forms a barrel-like structure aligned at an angle of 45° to the line of sight.[5]

The nebula holds about 0.13 solar masses of matter, including hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur;[5] all with a density of less than 100 particles per cubic centimeter.[6] Its outer radius is around 69 and it is expanding with velocities in the range of 27–39 km/s into the surrounding interstellar medium.[5]

The 14th magnitude central star has since reached the turning point of its evolution where it condenses to form a white dwarf.[2][6] It has 55–60% of the Sun's mass, 41–148 times the brightness of the Sun,[5] and an effective temperature of 123,000 K.[7] The star has been successfully resolved by the Spitzer Space Telescope as a point source that does not show the infrared excess characteristic of a circumstellar disk.[8]

See also

References

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  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Jones1991
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  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named calc_age
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named CuestaPhillips2000
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Guerrero2003
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Capriotti1968
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Bilikova2012

External links

Template:Messier objects Coordinates: Sky map 11h 14.8m 00s, +55° 01′ 00″

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