Dumbbell Nebula


Ron Brecher

Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Moravian G3-16200 EC camera (on loan from O’Telescope), Optolong Ha, O3 and RGB filters, 10″ f/3.6 ASA astrograph, Paramount MX, QHY5 guide camera through Lumicon 500 mm f.l. achromat. Acquisition with the SkyX, Focusing with FocusMax. All pre-processing and processing in PixInsight. Acquired from my SkyShed in Guelph. Nearly full moon for Ha and O3; no moon for RGB, no cloud, average transparency and average seeing throughout.

M27 is a classic example of a “planetary nebula,†so named because they looked similar to planets to early observers. M27 is known as the Dumbbell Nebula because of its visual appearance through a telescope. It is found in the constellation Vulpecula (“the Little Foxâ€), which is well placed for observing shortly after dark at this time of year. The nebula’s colours in this image are due to gas thrown off by the dying star at its centre. This white dwarf emits radiation that causes the gas to glow in visible light. Hydrogen emits mostly red and oxygen mostly green-blue light. Like all planetary nebulae, the Dumbbell will gradually expand and dissipate, becoming fainter over time. I guess we’re lucky to be here at this particular time in history and able to see it. The dumbell is about 1360 light years away, and is 10,000-15,000 years old.

I posted another image of this object in 2014, which was published several times. It is very interesting to compare the two images!