Astrophotography by David Gares

Dumbbell Nebula M27

Solar System
Open Clusters
Globular Clusters
Double Stars
Image Index
Observing Tools
Imaging Tips
My Equipment
M27, the Dumbbell Nebula, was the first planetary nebula ever discovered.  We see this nebula from its equator and therefore both cones can be seen (a polar view would look more like the Ring Nebula).  The Dumbbell is reasonably large and brighter than most other planetary nebulae.  It can be seen under light-polluted skies.  Like most planetary nebulae, it responds exceptionally well to LPR filters.  It's also an easy target to photograph, but this exposure was taken under extremely bad conditions (a rare thick haze from Alaskan forest fires carried down with a "cold" front).
The study of planetary nebulae is fascinating.  You're looking at a star that consumed the fuel at its core thousands of years ago.  It then ejected its gaseous shell into space.  The gas continues to expand at a slow but measurable pace.  The central star is easily visible in this photo, now a dwarf star headed for demise.  It is believed that 95% of all stars will die in this fashion; the others will experience supernova explosions instead (see M1, Crab Nebula).

 Dumbbell Nebula M27
 (Click image to enlarge)


 Object Details:  
 Type:  Planetary Nebula
 Constellation:  Vulpecula
 Distance:  Opinions vary
 Size:  Opinions vary

 Image Details:
 Date:  July 19, 2004
 Site:  Harahan, LA (hazy skies)
 Exposure:  CCD, 10 x 5 min.
 Filters:  Orion SkyGlow LPR
 Processing:  MSB Astroart 3.0
 Telescope:  10" Meade LX200
 Reducer:  Meade f/4.3
 CCD:  Starlight Express MX7C
 Autoguider:  S.T.A.R. 2000