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Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2009

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Dumbbell Nebula , Emily Thomas


Interestingly, The Dumbbell Nebula--spotted by Charles Messier on July 12, 1764--is the first planetary nebula ever discovered and has since been classified as object Messier 27 (in honor of Messier, of course). Like all planetary nebulae, the Dumbbell Nebula owes its formation to a sun-like star that threw out material as it ran out of hydrogen fuel to burn. This nebula extends outwards from a white dwarf at its center, forming a criss-crossed, roughly circular pattern.

This structure is clearly visible in the presented image and is emphasized by the brilliant colours that the Nebula is composed of. In the visible-light range, the nebula mostly emits within the spectrum of green light and some red light as shown in the image; these colours are based on the presence of oxygen and hydrogen, respectively. The faint rim around the brighter diagonal regions of the nebula indicate that the nebula was formed through both a circular expansion and a motion along a linear plane. There is still quite a bit of speculation regarding the distance to the Nebula, ranging from 500 to 3500 light years. For present purposes, if the distance is estimated to 1200 light years away, the Dumbbell Nebula calculates to a linear size of 3.2 lightyears.

Frommert, Hartmut, and Christine Kronberg. "Messier 27 ." N.p., 21 Aug. 2007. Web. 3 Dec. 2009.

"The Dumbbell Nebula." The Daily Galaxy -Great Discoveries Channel Galaxy Media, 27 June 2008. Web. 3 Dec. 2009.

Right Ascension (J2000) 19:59:36
Declination (J2000) +22:43:6
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

November 12, 2009(C)
November 12, 2009 (BVR)