M27 (Dumbbell Nebula)

All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please click here for a medium size image (70%).
Please click here for the largest size image.

Magnitude:  about 7.3
Size: about 8'
Distance: 1,250 light years
RA (J2000): 19h 59m 36s
Dec (J2000): 22 degrees 43' 18"
Position Angle (Pinpoint):  plus 58 degrees


Messier 27, also known as the Dumbbell Nebula, was the 27th object categorized by Messier during his search for objects that could be confused for comets.  M27 is a planetary nebula, which represents the end stage of stars about the same size as our Sun (in contrast, stars much larger than our Sun typically undergo a supernova explosion).   Such stars experience a phase of continued helium burning on their surface, long after the fuel in their core has been exhausted.  The outer layer is shed into space, igniting surrounding elements such as hydrogen through excitation by the solar wind and heat.  The term "planetary" nebula is a misnomer and was coined by Herschel, based upon its superficial visual resemblance to his recently discovered planet, Uranus.  More information about M27 may be found here and here.

Photographic Details:

Date:  July 4 (Ha), July 12 (OIII), and July 14 (RGB), 2009.
VC200L at f6.4 on the Takahashi NJP Mount.
Autoguider:  SBIG ST-402 with 60mm guidescope, focal length 227mm
Camera:  Apogee U32
Astronomik Ha (6 nm), OIII (13 nm), type II RGB filters.
Exposures:  Ha (10 x 20'); OIII (9 x 20'); R (5 x 10'); G (5 x 10'); B (5 x 15').  Total exposure time 9.25 hours.
Conditions:  Temperature 60 degrees F.
Calibrated, aligned, and Sigma Clip combined in Maxim, deconvolution in Maxim using Bob Vanderbei's Fat Tail Deconvolution script (3 iterations), followed by DDP in ImagesPlus (IP).  Further processing in Photoshop CS4 (16 bit format).  Ha was blended into R channel, and OIII was blended into G and B channels.  Ha was also used as luminance.

Please note:  Graphics on this website may not be reproduced without author permission.

Back to Nebulae