Space Pictures

The Dumbbell Nebula

Photographs by Matthew T. Russell

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Messier Number:

NGC Number:
NGC 6853

Common Name:
The Dumbbell Nebula


Distance from Earth:
~1,000 Light Years

Visual Magnitude:

8.0 x 5.7 arc minutes

M27, The Dumbell Nebula

Click here to view a larger Standard Color (LRGB) image.

M27, The Dumbell Nebula

Click here to view a larger Hydrogen-Alpha image.

Black Forest, CO

RCOS 16" Ritchey-Chretien
AstroDon Series I Filters
AstroDon HA, SII, OIII Filters
Bisque Paramount ME

Date Taken:
8/13/2010 - 8/22/2010

Exposure Specs (L-RGB):
1,290 minutes total
HA: 18x30 min
OIII: 10x30 min
LUM: 12x15 min
RED: 6x15 min
GREEN: 6x15 min
BLUE: 6x15 min

Exposure Specs (HA):
540 minutes total
HA: 18x30 min

Processed with:
Adobe Photoshop CS2

Photograph Description

Discovered by Charles Messier in 1764.

The Dumbbell Nebula M27 was the first planetary nebula ever discovered. This planetary nebula is certainly the most impressive object of its kind in the sky, as the angular diameter of the luminous body is nearly 6 arc minutes, with a faint halo extensing out to over 15', half the apparent diameter of the Moon.

The bright portion of the nebula is apparently expanding at a rate of 6.8 arc seconds per year, leading to an estimated age of 3000 to 4000 years, i.e. the shell ejection probably would have been observable. As for most planetary nebulae, the distance of M27 (and thus true dimension and intrinsic luminosity) is not very well known. Currently, investigations with the Hubble Space Telescope are under work to determine a more reliable and acurate value for the distance of the Dumbbell Nebula.



Copyright 2010, Matthew T. Russell. All rights reserved.