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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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Little Dumbbell , Tyler Westman

Little Dumbbell Nebula

The Little Dumbbell is found in the constellation of Perseus and is classified as a planetary nebula. Planetary nebulae are formed by groups of gases thrown out by stars as run out of hydrogen fuel to burn, thus approaching the end of their lives. For example, our Sun will someday about 5 billion years from now create a planetary nebula as it approaches the end of its life. The name planetary nebula can be a little misleading because they have nothing in common with planets. The reason behind the name is that if planetary nebulae are viewed through small telescopes then they look remarkably similar to planets. The Little Dumbbell was discovered in 1780 by Pierre Méchain. The Little Dumbbell is 3,400 light-years away from us.

Quite obvious in the picture of the Little Dumbbell is the main body part appears to be an elliptical shape. This part of the Little Dumbbell is full of colors from green, yellow, and red. The red is hydrogen. The green is oxygen. If views very closely, however, the Little Dumbbell has unique “wings” that span out from the center. The wings are asymmetrical maybe because the object is rotating. This feature makes the Little Dumbbell look spectacular. The wings measure 157” by 87”. There is a very faint halo covering a region about 290” in diameter. This consists of material possibly ejected in the form of stellar winds from the central star when it was still in the red giant stage. Using the small angle formula The Little Dumbbell has an estimated linear size of 2.85 light-years. The Little Dumbbell is a terrific looking nebula given to us to enjoy by God.

References:
"Types of Nebulae." Nine Planets. <http://astro.nineplanets.org/twn/types.html#planetaryl>.

"Little Dumbbell Nebula " Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. <http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/L/Little_Dumbbell_Nebula.html>

Right Ascension (J2000) 01:42:18
Declination (J2000) +51:34:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR
Date observed

October 19, 2007 (C)
October 24, 2007 (BVR)