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

Messier27
NGC6853
NameDumbbell Nebula
Object TypePlanetary Nebula
ConstellationVulpecula
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 - September 2016

The Planets
This Month's Guide

Algol Minima
Algol eclipse dates and times for September 2016

Mercury
Mercury reaches greatest elongation west on September 28, 2016. Best chance to see the planet in the morning sky from northern locations this year.

Moon, Mars, Saturn and Antares
The Moon, Mars, Saturn and Antares close together during the evenings of September 8th and 9th, 2016

Iapetus at greatest western elongation
Saturn's bizarre two-tone moon Iapetus reaches greatest western elongation on September 9, 2016, visible in small scopes

Northern Hemisphere
Evening
West:- Venus (mag. -3.9)
Southwest:- Mars (mag. -0.3 to +0.1), Saturn (mag. +0.5)
East:- Neptune (mag. +7.8)
Midnight
South:- Neptune
Southeast:- Uranus (mag. +5.7)
Morning
West:- Neptune
Southwest:- Uranus
East:- Mercury (mag. +1.5 to -0.6 last week of month)

Southern Hemisphere
Evening
West:- Venus, Jupiter (first half of month), Mercury (mag. +1.3 to +2.5 first few days of month)
Northwest:- Mars, Saturn
East:- Neptune
Midnight
West:- Mars, Saturn
North:- Neptune
Northeast:- Uranus
Morning
West:- Neptune
Northwest:- Uranus

Deep Sky
Binoculars / Small telescopes:-
Messier 13 – M13 - Great Hercules Globular Cluster
Messier 57 - M57 - The Ring Nebula (Planetary Nebula)
Messier 92 - M92 - Globular Cluster
Messier 24 - M24 - Sagittarius Star Cloud
Messier 6 - M6 - The Butterfly Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 7 - M7 - The Ptolemy Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 8 - M8 - Lagoon Nebula (Emission Nebula)
Messier 27 - M27 - The Dumbbell Nebula (Planetary Nebula)

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