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Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2009

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Dumbell Nebula M27, Kevin Rauwerda

Helix Nebula

This planetary nebula is Dumbell Nebula M27, and is a planetary nebula formed from ionized gas and plasma ejected from stars later in their life. In other words, the star has run out of hydrogen fuel to burn. This particular object was discovered by Charles Messier on July 12, 1764. He described it as a oval nebula without stars. The name dumbell comes from John Herschel who describes it as a "double headed shot." This planetary nebula was the first planetary nebula to be discovered.

This planetary nebula located in Vulpecula is approximately 975 light years away. The angular diameter of this body is 6 arc minutes. Therefore, the linear diameter of this planet is .028 light years. The blue light/dot in the middle is the remaining core of the star and a reflection of black body radiation and shows that it is very hot. The green and red around it is transparent. The green is a sign of oxygen and the red shows what is hydrogen. These are the layers of the former star and when it blew up it scattered the oxygen and hydrogen to where they currently are.


Millikan, A.G., 1974. Extended halos on planetary nebulae. Astronomical Journal, Vol. 79, p. 1259 + pl. II-III (November 1974)


Right Ascension (J2000) 19:59:3
Declination (J2000) +22:43:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in C,B,V,R
Date observed

September 11, 2009 (C,B,V,R)