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Little Dumbbell Nebula (NGC 650) & Heart Nebula(NGC 896)
Ethan Donovan & Woorim Hwang

NGC 650 NGC 896
Little Dumbell Nebula- Ethan Donovan Heart Nebula- Woorim Hwang

A nebula is a cloud of gas in space, typically composed of hydrogen, helium, and various other ionized gases that has either been heated by a nearby star, or emitted from a dying star. These heated clouds of gas put off a vibrant array of colors, which are determined by the nebulas composition. As a star dies it ejects the elements which make up its shells into space, either through solar winds or a massive explosion called a supernova. There are also some nebulae that are not involved with the process of a dying star, but instead are heated by nearby stars.

NGC 650, otherwise known as the little dumbbell nebula, is located in the constellation Perseus. This nebula was discovered in 1764 by Charles Messier, and is the first planetary nebula ever discovered. The creation of a planetary nebula, contrary to its’ name, has nothing to do with planets. Instead planetary nebulae are the result of a collapsing star (specifically small stars like our sun). As the star collapses it ejects the outer layers of the star into space. The core of the star remains in place, and is incredibly hot and bright. At this point the star has become a white dwarf, which illuminates the gasses from the outer shell creating the colorful clouds of gas known as nebulae.

The second nebula is called the Heart nebula which is 7,500 light years away from where we live. The Heart nebula is part of constellation Cassiopeia. The nebula is an open cluster nebula which contains starts that are about 50 times of mass of the Sun. The Heart nebula is an emission nebula. Emission nebula is a nebula that shines with its own light. Emission nebula emits various colors which in this case its mostly red. The brightest part has its own name “NGC 896”.

The two nebulae are similar in terms of their composition. They are mostly made up of hydrogen and oxygen. However, the slight difference is that 20% of the red light of the Heart Nebula comes from sulfur. In terms of location, both the Little Dumbbell Nebula and the Heart Nebula are located on the Milky Way. The Dumbbell Nebula is about 1,360 light years away and the Heart Nebula is about 7,500 light years away however they are both in direction of north. (Declination; Little Dumbbell Nebula: +51:34:31, Heart Nebula: +61:26:03).

While these two nebulae have several similar characteristics, they are also quite different from each other. One key difference between these two nebulae is how they are illuminated. The Heart Nebula gets its light from a cluster of stars located towards the center of the nebula. The Little Dumbbell Nebula, however, is illuminated by a white dwarf star, which has ejected its' shell and gasses into space. Another difference between the two is the size. The little dumbbell nebula is a mere 4.8 arch-minutes in size. The Heart Nebula however is 150 arch-minutes in size. The reason for this massive difference in size can be explained by where these nebulae came from. As mentioned above, the Little Dumbbell nebula is the result of a collapsed, relatively small star. the Heart Nebula, however, is being illuminated by several hot, massive stars. This means that more of the gas in the area becomes hot enough to emit light, and is therefore larger in size.



Frommert, Hartmut. "NGC 7293." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

Object Little Dumbbell Nebula Heart Nebula
Right Ascension (J2000) 1:42:20 2:37:57
Declination (J2000) +51:34:31 +61:26:03
Filters used B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green) B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green)
Exposure time per filter

B (3 x 140s), V (3 x 80), R (3 x 80s); C (3 x 100s)

B (3 x 140s), V (3 x 80), R (3 x 80s); C (3 x 100s)
Image dimension 696 x 458 pixels; 15.08 x 9.92 arcminutes 996 x 672 pixels; 21.58 x 14.56 arcminutes
Date/time observed October 05, 2016 ,08:37:14 UT October 05, 2016, 10:06:33 UT



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