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M27 - Dumbbell Nebula
The Dumbbell Nebula M27 was the first planetary nebula ever discovered. Charles Messier first encountered this very large and bright nebula in 1764.

The bright portion of the nebula (visible here) is expanding at a rate of nearly 7 arc seconds per century, leading to an estimated age of 3,000 to 4,000 years since the central star's shell ejection. The central star is very hot (85,000 K) and quite bright at mag 13.5. As for most planetary nebulae, the distance of M27 is not well known. A wide range of existing estimates average at around 1,200 light years.

M27 Dumbbell Nebula - (c) Solar Worlds

Here is an earlier version taken with a digital SLR camera:

M27 Dumbbell Nebula - (c) Solar Worlds

This is my first astrophotograph taken with my new Canon EOS 5D Digital SLR camera, and in fact an image recorded at my first ever star party - the Autumn Equinox Star Party at Kelling Heath, Norfolk, UK, in September 2006.
 

(c) 2008 Solar Worlds - All rights reserved. Last updated 30 September 2008. Tell a friend