Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Previous image Up to Astr111 Index Next image ASTR 110 Photography Projects, Fall 2016

Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) & Dumbbell Nebula (M27)
Megan Michele & Isabella Ebbert

Helix Nebula - Megan Michele Dumbbell Nebula- Isabella Ebbert

Nebulae form when portions of interstellar matter undergo gravitational collapse. They are labeled as "Nebulae" coming from the Latin word "nubes," which means "clouds." They are also referred to as "stellar nurseries," referring to the place where stars are born. There are three categories of classification. They can be emission, diffuse, or relfection nebulae. Below are a couple of the brightest and beautiful nebulae. The color of the nebulae are based on hydrogen which gives it its red color and the other colors because of thier elements.

The Helix Nebula is found in the Aquarious. This nebula, also known as the eye of God, was discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding sometime around 1842. It is one of the closest to earth of the panetary nebula and therefore one of the brightest. The Helix Nebula is about 2.5 light years spanning across space and located about 600-700 light eyars from earth. The temperature varies across the nebula and also contains planetary knots which are highly radically semetric. The structure is close to the cats eye but not quite the same, but ultimately similar to the dumbell nebula which ironically is the other nebula we researched. The structure and expansion is very recent in planetary years, within 6560 years for the outer layer and 12100 for the inner layer. Normally when seeing this we see red, orange, blue, but in infrared, its bright blue with a red center.

The Dumbbell Nebula is the very first of its type to be discovered. It is second brightest, following the Helix nebula, and is found in the constellation "Vulpecula."The Dumbbell Nebula was discovered by the French astronomer, from the early 1700's, Charles Messier, on July 12, 1764. A substitute name for the Dumbbell Nebula is M27, with the "M" standing for "Messier." This particular nebula is located 1,360 lightyears away from us. The name "Dumbbell" was created by an English astronomer from the 1800's named John Hershel. He observed the Dumbbell Nebula in 1828, and named it thus on account of it's relativem dumbbell shape.

There are many similarities to be found between these two nebulae. The Helix Nebula is the top brightest nebula in the visible sky, while the Dumbbell Nebula is the second brightest. These two nebula are extremely bright and happend to be the top two brightest nebulae in the sky today. Both of these nebulae are classified as planetary, meaning they are both emission nebulae that are comprised of gas and dust, expanding and growing.

Even though these two nebulae are very similar, there are many smaller differences that make them discinctly dfferent from eachother. A smaller difference that we see is that the Helix Nebula is brighter than the Dumbbell Nebula but the Dumbell is the second brightest. Another difference that we understand is that they have different zodiac signs, or constelations. Helix is in the aquarious constelation and the dumbell was found in the vilpecula constelation. The Dumbell Nebula was found many years before the Helix and by someone completely different. Thier size, distance, and age are both sililar but ultimately different.


Free Star Charts:

Messier Objects:

Sky and Telescope:

Wikipedia, "Planetary Nebula".

Object Helix Nebula Dumbbell Nebula
Right Ascension (J2000) 22:29:38.402 19:59:35
Declination (J2000) -20:50:10.999 22:43:16
Filters used B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green) B (Blue), C (Clear), R (Red), V (Green)
Exposure time per filter B, V, R, C (5s each) B, V,R,C (5s each)
Image dimension 1092x736 pixels; 23.66x15.95 arcminutes 580x411 pixels; 12.6x8.9 arcminutes
Date/time observed October 10, 2016, 7:49 UT October 10, 2016, 4:38 UT



Secondary content.


Side content.