M27 The Dumbbell Nebula

Planetary Nebula in Vulpecula

Uploaded 6/3/02

This object is bright and filled with details at all wavelengths. Spanning a huge 6.7 arcmins, this 7.6 magnitude planetary nebula is one of the brightest in the entire sky. The classic hourglass shape can be seen even in the smallest telescope, however the luminous ears seen here are difficult even with a nebular filter and never easy to photograph satisfactorily. This is my deepest shot so far, revealing the curdled interior and multicolored wings on each side as substantial components of the nebulas body. The Dumbbell is only 1000 light years distant, and a mere 3 light years across.

Processing: This image is of a new type, a (L^Ha)RGB. The image was photographed normally for 2h as a standard LRGB. Then an additional 80 minutes of L data was taken with a narrow band H alpha filter. The L channel in white light was combined with the Ha data in Photoshop using layers, combined using "Lighten". This has the effect of preserving all the detail of the Ha image, and adds the required stars and white light data to preserve the color balance of the image, and yet use nearly 100 percent of the Ha data that was so hard earned. So the "^" symbol means "enhanced".

Instrument:  12.5" f/5 Home made Newtonian
Platform:  Astrophysics 1200 QMD
CCD Camera:  SBIG ST7E w/Enhanced Cooling
Exposure:  (L^Ha)RGB = 140:20:20:20 (RGB Binned 2x2)
RGB Combine Ratio:  1: .95: 1.8
Filters:  RGB Tricolor
Location:  Payson, Arizona
Elevation:  5150 ft.
Sky:  Seeing FMHW = 2.5 arcsec, Transparency 8/10
Outside Temperature:  15 C
CCD Temperature:  -20 C
Processing:  Maxim DL, Photoshop, AIP4WIN, PW Pro.


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