M27, NGC6853, Dumbbell Nebula
About this image
This true color picture was taken using Ektachrome film at the prime focus of the Kitt Peak 4m telescope on July 2nd 1973. This is unusual: normally color images are made by combining black and white images taken through different colored filters.
The Dumbbell Nebula (M27, NGC6853) is a planetary nebula in Vulpecula, whose central blue star continues to ionize the surrounding gas. The designation is now a historical curiosity, as these nebulae are believed to be a normal stage in stellar evolution involving the expulsion of significant matter back into the interstellar medium, and not to be connected in any way with the formation of planetary systems. At a distance of approximately 850 light-years, this is one of the closest known planetary nebulae: however, as with all planetary nebulae this distance is not very well known and could be wrong by even as much as a factor of two.
Photograph by Bill Schoening.
Minimum credit line: Bill Schoening/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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