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 - May 2016

Mars reaches opposition
Mars reaches opposition on May 22, 2016

Transit of Mercury
Transit of Mercury on May 9th 2016

Jupiter and the Moon close together
Jupiter and the waxing gibbous Moon close together during the evenings of May 14/15, 2016

Comets
How to see comet PanSTARRS (C/2013 X1) with binoculars and small telescopes during May and June 2016
How to see comet 252P/LINEAR with binoculars and small telescopes

Meteor Shower
Eta Aquariids meteor shower peaks on May 6, 2016

The Planets
This Month's Guide

Algol Minima
Algol eclipse dates and times for May 2016

Northern Hemisphere
Evening
South:- Jupiter (mag. -2.2)
Southeast:- Mars (mag. -1.5 to -2.1)
Midnight
Southwest:- Jupiter
South:- Mars
Southeast:- Saturn (mag. 0.0)
Morning
Southwest:- Mars, Saturn
East:- Neptune (mag. +7.9 - end of month)

Southern Hemisphere
Evening
North:- Jupiter
East:- Mars, Saturn
Midnight
Northwest:- Jupiter
Northeast:- Mars, Saturn
Morning
West:- Mars, Saturn
Northeast:- Neptune
East:- Uranus (mag. +5.9), Venus (mag. -3.9 first 3 weeks of month)

Deep Sky
Naked Eye:-
Melotte 111 - Mel 111 - The Coma Star Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 44 - M44 - The Praesepe (Open Cluster)
NGC 869 and NGC 884 - The Double Cluster - Open Clusters
Binoculars / Small telescopes:-
Messier 13 – M13 - Great Hercules Globular Cluster
Messier 3 - M3 - Globular Cluster
Messier 81 - M81 - Bode's Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
Messier 82 - M82 - Cigar Galaxy (Starburst Galaxy)

Shop at Amazon US

Shop at Amazon US

Current Moon Phase

CURRENT MOON

Contributions

If you like the website and want to contribute to the running costs then please do so below. All contributions are most welcome.