M027 - The Dumbell Nebula (DSI-C color/DSI-Pro luminance)
The Dumbbell Nebula M27 was the first planetary nebula ever discovered. On July 12, 1764, Charles Messier discovered this new and fascinating class of objects, and describes this one as an oval nebula without stars. The name "Dumb-bell" goes back to the description by John Herschel, who also compared it to a "double-headed shot."
This planetary nebula is certainly the most impressive object of its kind in the sky, as the angular diameter of the luminous body is nearly 6 arc minutes, with a faint halo extensing out to over 15', half the apparent diameter of the Moon (Millikan 1974). It is also among the brightest, being at most little less luminous with its estimated apparent visual magnitude 7.4 than the brightest, the Helix Nebula NGC 7293 in Aquarius, with 7.3, which however has a much lower surface brightness because of its larger extension (estimates from Stephen Hynes); it is a bit unusual that this planetary is only little fainter photographically (mag 7.6).
As measured by Soviet astronomer O.N. Chudowitchera from Pulkowo (and mentioned by L.H. Aller, Glyn Jones and Vehrenberg), the bright portion of the nebula is apparently expanding at a rate of 6.8 arc seconds per century, leading to an estimated age of 3,000 to 4,000 years, i.e. the shell ejection probably would have been observable this time ago (it actually happened earlier as the light had to travel all the distance of perhaps about 1000 light years). She estimated the distance somewhat short at only about 490 ly. Another estimate, given by Burnham, has obtained a rate 1.0 arc seconds per century, and an estimated age of 48,000 years.
The central star of M27 is quite bright at mag 13.5, and an extremely hot blueish subdwarf dwarf at about 85,000 K (so the spectral type is given as O7 in the Sky Catalog 2000). K.M. Cudworth of the Yerkes Observatory found that it probably has a faint (mag 17) yellow companion at 6.5" in position angle 214 deg (Burnham).
Meade DSI-C (for the color channel)
48x60 second exposures
Meade DSI-Pro (for the luminance channel) 84x42.4 seconds, plus 66x1 minute. Total of 7521 seconds
Tak NJP Temma II mount
Fair/poor seeing conditions, full moon
Posted By: Hoser