Click here for a full resolution closeup of the Little Dumbbell Nebula

 

The Details
Object
M 76 The Little Dumbbell Nebula in Perseus
Optics
12.5" RCOS Ritchey-Chretien at f/6.9
Platform
Astro-Physics 1200 GTO
Camera
SBIG ST-10XME
Filters
Tru-Balance LRGB filter set
Date
14 October 2004
Location
Red Cloud Road, Eastern Riverside County CA
Exposure
L 6 x 600 sec 1x1 bin; RGB 4 ea x 300 sec 2x2 bin
Software
Maxim DL/CCD, Registar, CCDSharp, Photoshop CS
Orientation
Field of view: 23' 42 " x 15' 58" centered on RA 01h42m33s
DEC 51°37'06". North angle 105.7°; east 90° CCW from north
Notes

Discovered by Pierre Mechain on September 5, 1780, the Little Dumbbell Nebula is one of the fainter objects on the Messier List. This nebula is also known as the Cork Nebula, Butterfly Nebula and Barbell Nebula as well as having the identification tag NGC 650. The central star ionizing the gas in this object is visible in the above image at the very center of the nebula, it shining at magnitude 16.6. The distance to M 76 is not very well known, with estimates ranging from 1800 to 8500 light years.
The seeing was somewhat poor on the night this image was taken, hence the moderately bloated star shapes. In spite of that, the wide color variation of the surrounding star field offers a pleasing palette onto which the Little Dumbbell is framed.

 

 

 

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No reproduction of these images are permitted without prior approval of the author.