M27: The Dumbell Nebula
Like the others of its type, M27 is a bubble of gas that has been ejected
by a star at the end if its life. The core of the star still remains in the
center (the slightly blue-ish star in the center above the small triangle of
and makes this gas bubble glow. In fact the light emitted by the
gas (in the visible wavelengths) is brighter than the central star.
How can this be? Most of the light emitted by the central star is in shorter
(more energy) wavelengths, such as Ultraviolet, and it is only through
the emission of light by the surrounding gas that we see the bubble. M27 is
estimated to be 3,500 years old and perhaps 1,000 light years away. As viewed
in a small telescope or under city skies the brighter portion of this nebula
looks like a half-eaten apple (core), hence the name. From Kitt Peak (and
certainly in this image) the full bubble of gas is easily seen in the
Click on image for larger version.
RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.4
SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel
Minimum credit line: Joe and Gail Metcalf/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
RETURN to the PLANETARY NEBULAE page.
BACK to main Best of AOP page.
Would you like to
like this? Click here.
Return to NOAO Home Page