Dumbbell Nebula (M27, NGC 6853)
One of the brightest and best known of planetary
nebulae, named after its doubled-lobed appearance. It lies in Vulpecula,
was the first planetary to be discovered, by Charles Messier
in 1764, and is the easiest object of its type to see with a small telescope.
The bright portion of the nebula is expanding at a rate of 6.8" per century,
leading to an estimated age of 3,000 to 4,000 years. It is seen from our
vantage point roughly along its equatorial plane. However, if it were to
be viewed from near one pole, it would probably have the shape of a ring
and perhaps appear similar to the Ring Nebula.
The central star of M27 is quite bright at magnitude 13.5 and may have a
faint (magnitude 17) yellow companion 6.5" away.
||8' × 6' (bright portion),
15' (including faint halo)
||1,250 light-years (380 pc)
||R.A. 19h 59.6m, Dec. +22° 43'
AND STAR CLUSTERS