M 27 Dumbell Nebula
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M 27 Dumbell Nebula


M 27 Dumbell Nebula
Description: Right Ascension 19 : 59.6 (h:m)
Declination +22 : 43 (deg:m)
Distance 1.25 (kly)
Visual Brightness 7.4 (mag)
Apparent Dimension 8.0x5.7 (arc min)

Discovered by Charles Messier in 1764.

The Dumbbell Nebula M27 was the first planetary nebula ever discovered. On July 12, 1764, Charles Messier discovered this new and fascinating class of objects, and describes this one as an oval nebula without stars. The name "Dumb-bell" goes back to the description by John Herschel, who also compared it to a "double-headed shot."

We happen to see this one approximately from its equatorial plane (approx. left-to-right in our image); this is similar to our view of another, fainter Messier planetary nebula, M76, which is called the Little Dumbbell. From near one pole, it would probably have the shape of a ring, and perhaps look like we view the Ring Nebula M57.

The central star of M27 is quite bright at mag 13.5, and an extremely hot blueish subdwarf dwarf at about 85,000 K (so the spectral type is given as O7 in the Sky Catalog 2000). K.M. Cudworth of the Yerkes Observatory found that it probably has a faint (mag 17) yellow companion at 6.5" in position angle 214 deg (Burnham).

Adopting our value of 1200 light years, the intrinsic luminosity of the gaseous nebula is about 100 times that of the Sun (about -0.5 Mag absolute) while the star is at about +6 (1/3 of the Sun) and the companion at +9..9.5 (nearly 100 times fainter than the Sun), all in the visual light part of the electromagnetic spectrum. That the nebula is so much brighter than the star shows that the star emits primarily highly energetic radiation of the non-visible part of the electro-magnetic spectrum, which is absorbed by exciting the nebula's gas, and re-emitted by the nebula, at last to a good part in the visible light. Actually, as for almost all planetary nebulae, most of the visible light is even emitted in one spectral line only, in the green light at 5007 Angstrom (see our planetary nebula description) ! Source SEDS
Date: 02.11.2006 12:57
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Caption: Processed with MaxIm DL

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