M97 and 108 - The Owl nebula and a galaxy

M97 is a planetary nebula located in Ursa Major.  It has acquired the nickname "The Owl" because of its two dark spots, which make up the "eyes" of the owl.  Closeby is the galaxy M108. M97 is 2000 light years away and located in our milky way galaxy. However, M108 is close to 50 million light years away!   This pair is a common target for astrophotographers and can be found about 1/4th the way between Merak and Phad, the two stars at the bottom of the big dipper's bowl.

 This photograph was taken using a Nikon D5000 set at ISO 800 and a six-inch F-5 reflector.  The resultant image is a stack of six five-minute exposures:


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