Alt. Designations: NGC 3587, Owl Nebula
Object Type: Planetary Nebula
Constellation: Ursa Major
Distance: 2.6 kly
Right Ascension: 11h 14m 47.7s
Declination: +55° 01´ 10"
Visual Magnitude: 11.2
Apparent Dimension: 2.83´ Dia.
Best Month To View: Mar

The constellation of Ursa Major is the location of the famous Owl Nebula, M97. This planetary nebula got its name from the two round dark regions, which resemble the eyes of an owl. It is one of the fainter objects in the Messier catalog with a magnitude of only 11.2. The structure of M97 is unusually complex for a planetary nebula. It is illuminated by a 16th-magnitude star at its center. As with most planetary nebulae, its distance is not certain. Best guesses place it at about 2,600 light-years from Earth. This dim object requires a large telescope for any serious viewing.