Dumbell Nebula, M27

July 2021

Imaging: TS80 apo, ZWO ASI533 (gain 100, 0C), L-Enhance
Subs: 374x120s (12h), darks, flats, and darkflats
Software: NINA, Phd2, PixInsight

(Additional notes below)



This is Messier 27, or the Dumbell Nebula. It is sometimes called the "Apple Core" nebula. The Dumbell Nebula is a "planetary" nebula, a misnomer since these have nothing to do with planets. Rather, according to Wikipedia, it is a form of emission nebula which has an expanding, glowing shell of ionized gas ejected from a red giant star late in its life. The center star is now a white dwarf. This nebula is about 1360 LY from us (within our Milky Way like all the nebula we photograph). It is often passed over since it is so much smaller than some other magnificent structures that become visible at the same time. Nevertheless, it is an important structure being the first of its type identified by Messier.

I took the images for this over 4 nights starting in late July. This is one of the smaller nebulas I have imaged so this picture is cropped (i.e., digitally zoomed). I had particular trouble getting the unique coloring of the nebula to show. The final result benefitted from the camaraderie of the astrophotography community. The critique and suggestions from the community lead me to the proper technique for “stretching” in order to preserve and display the inherent coloring.