Messier 27
Object Information:

Messier 27 - The Dumbbell Nebula

Messier 27 is considered by many to be the finest planetary nebula in the sky. It is certainly one of the largest and easiest to observe in an amateur telescope. When observed through the eyepiece of the typical amateur telescope, this object appears as a large disk that is pinched in on its east and west sides, thus the common name of the "Dumbbell Nebula". Messier 27 is estimated to be approximately 1.5 light years wide [easily encompassing our entire solar system]. Various estimates place the age of the nebulosity at between 3,000 and 48,000 years old.

The nebulosity, which is the visible part of Messier 27, was created from the central star visible in this image when the star expend the hydrogen fuel at its core. It entered a "giant" phase where its outer layers expanded and the star ejected up to 25% of its total mass. Planetary nebula can be composed of several shells of expanding gas. The visible part of Messier 27 is an expanding shell of stellar material that is set aglow by the central star which has since become a very strong source of ultraviolet radiation. The central stars of planetary nebula are among the hottest stars known.

Image date:

July 1, 2005

Exposure Information:

An RGB filtered image of 8 X 360 second exposures per color channel.

Imaged at:



Takahashi MT-200 at f/6, SBIG ST-10XME, Astro-Physics AP 1200 GTO