M97 and M108

M97 and M108
M97 and M108 near the big dipper.

I shot this in March, but I couldn’t bring myself to post it until I had something to post from my replacement tube.  I shot this with a Celestron RASA, an 11″ diameter scope with a blazing fast f/2.2 focal ratio.  Sadly, it is also WAY too heavy for my Orion Atlas mount.  I was lucky to get this picture the way the mount was straining under the weight of the equipment.

Anyway, M97, the Owl Nebula, on the left, is a planetary nebula, an expanding ball of gas which has been expelled from the outer layers of a star which is running out of fuel.  Then that ball of gas is ionized by what remains of the star.  M97 is a couple thousand light years away.

At the top right is M108, a galaxy around 42 million light years away.  Our view of it is nearly edge on.

This picture was combined from the best (not sure how many) of around 44 exposures of 4 minutes each.


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