Messier 27 - M27 - The Dumbbell Nebula (Planetary Nebula)

The Dumbbell Nebula or M27 is a showpiece object that is a popular visual and imaging target for amateur astronomers. It is arguably the finest planetary nebula in the night sky and the first of its type to be discovered. The name derives from its resemblance to a dumbbell shape; likewise it has also been compared to an apple core or an hourglass figure. With an apparent mag. of +7.4 it is the second brightest planetary nebula in the sky; only the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) in Aquarius is marginally brighter. However, the Dumbbell Nebula has a higher surface brightness and therefore the easier target to locate.

M27 The Dumbbell Nebula (ESO)

Finder Chart for M27 (also shown M71)

Finder Chart for M27 (also shown M71) - pdf format

M27 is found in the constellation of Vulpecula, easily visible in 10x50 binoculars, appearing as a small oblong shaped patch of light. With 15x70 binoculars it is much larger and brighter with a distinct central region surrounded by fainter outer regions. An 80mm (3.1-inch) telescope will show the famous hourglass shape especially when using averted vision. With larger telescopes M27 displays more intricate surface details. It is a wonderful sight when viewed through a 200mm (8-inch) telescope and as with many objects of this type a nebula filter often enhances the view.

M27 was discovered by Charles Messier on July 12, 1764 and is located 1360 light-years from Earth. It has apparent dimensions of 8.0 x 5.6 arcminutes.

M27 Data Table

NameDumbbell Nebula
Object TypePlanetary Nebula
Distance (kly)1.36
Apparent Mag.7.4
RA (J2000)19h 59m 36s
DEC (J2000)22d 43m 17s
Apparent Size (arcmins)8.0 x 5.6
Radius (light years)1.44

Sky Highlights - November 2015

Catalina (C/2013 US10) an early morning binocular and small telescope comet

Meteor Showers
Northern Taurids meteor shower peaks on the night of November 11/12, 2015
Leonids meteor shower peaks on the night of November 17/18, 2015

Algol Minima
Algol eclipse dates and times for November 2015

Venus Mars Conjunction
Venus and Mars early morning conjunction on November 3, 2015

Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter morning grouping
Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter light up the morning sky on November 7th, 2015

The Planets
This Month's Guide

Northern Hemisphere
Southeast:- Neptune (mag. +7.9)
East:- Uranus (mag. +5.8)
Southwest:- Neptune
South:- Uranus
West:- Uranus
East:- Venus (mag. -4.3), Mars (mag. +1.6), Jupiter (mag. -1.9)

Southern Hemisphere
West:- Saturn (mag. +0.6 - first few days of month)
Northeast:- Uranus
North:- Neptune
West:- Neptune
Northwest:- Uranus
West:- Uranus
East:- Venus, Mars, Jupiter

Deep Sky
Naked Eye:-
Messier 45 - M45 - The Pleiades (Open Cluster)
Caldwell 41 - C41 - The Hyades - Open Cluster
Messier 42 - M42 - The Great Orion Nebula (Emission/Reflection)
Messier 31 - M31 - Andromeda Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
NGC 869 and NGC 884 - The Double Cluster - Open Clusters

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