Astrophotography by David Gares

Little Dumbbell Nebula M76

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M76, the Little Dumbbell Nebula, was the one of the earliest planetary nebulae 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 Little Dumbbell is rather faint for a Messier object but its light is concentrated in a small area.  Visually it's not very exciting, but the camera yields a most unusual display of color.  The Little Dumbbell also goes by the names Cork Nebula, Butterfly Nebula, and Barbell Nebula.  The faint magnitude 16.6 central star can be seen in the image (at least I think that's it there in the center).  The night was relatively clear so I was able to capture the faint halo too.
For more on planetary nebula, see Dumbbell Nebula M27.

 Little Dumbbell Nebula M76
 (Click image to enlarge)


 Object Details:  
 Type:  Planetary Nebula
 Constellation:  Perseus
 Distance:  3400 light-years (?)
 Size (halo):  4.8 light-years (?)

 Image Details:
 Date:  August 14, 2004
 Site:  Harahan, LA
 Exposure:  CCD, 9 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