The Owl Watches an Odd Galaxy
Messier Designation: M 97 / M 108
Constellation: Ursa Maior - The Bear


This picture frames two entirely different objects. M108 to the upper left is a spiral galaxy we see at a very shallow angle. The interesting streaks indicate the galaxy's dust hiding the starlight from behind. The light of M 108 traveled 46 millions of years until I was able to capture it on my chip.

The other object, M 97 is a planetary nebula. This is a class of objects which are generated when stellar winds blow away the atmosphere from a star that runs out of nucear fuel. The blueish colour represents the lines of Hydrogen (H-beta) and Oxygen (OIII), two emission lines that are characteristics of gas that is excited by highly energetic radiation. This is exactly the scenario we would expect in environments of dying stars.

North is to the left.

This picture might require more exposure. Unfortunately the difficult conditions I faced in that night forced me to terminate the exposure after some 2 hours, as otherwise thick frost might have caused damage to my equipment - and this was a risk I was unwilling to run. When I moved my equipment home, it was literally soaked in all the condensed water. Careful cleaning was on my task list.


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