M76 - Little Dumbbell Nebula (SHO)
The Little Dumbbell Nebula is a planetary nebula that was discovered in 1780 by Pierre Méchain and included as object number 76 in Charles Messier’s catalog of comet-like objects. It was first recognized as s planetary nebula by astronomer Heber Doust Curtis in 1918, but Isaac Roberts suggested in 1891 that it might be similar to M57, the Ring Nebula, only seen from the side view. M76 is now classified as a bipolar planetary nebula.
This little gem is estimated to be 2,500 light years away in the constellation Perseus. It became known as the “little” dumbbell due to its resemblance to the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) in the constellation Vulpecula. It was given two catalog numbers, NGC650 & NGC651, when it was originally thought to consist of two separate emission nebulae. Having a +10.1 apparent magnitude, the Little Dumbbell Nebula is considered by some to be one of the faintest and most difficult Messier objects to see.
This is a narrowband image using a variation of the well-know Hubble palette, where the narrowband channels of H-alpha (Ha), Sulfer II (SII), and Oxygen III (OIII), are assigned to red, green, and blue. This variation is red = 60% SII + 40% Ha; green = 30% SII + 30% Ha + 40% OIII; blue = 100% OIII; synthetic luminance created from the three narrowband channels was used in the blending using the SHO AIP script in Pixinsight.
Other designations: Barbell Nebula; Cork Nebula
- Telescope: Celestron 11" EdgeHD SCT @ f/10
- Mount: Paramount MyT
- Camera: QSI683wsg-8 CCD @ -15C
- Guiding: Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2
- Accessories: Dew control by Dew Buster
- Filters: Astrodon 5nm Ha, SII, and OIII
- Exposure: Ha: 8 x 1800 sec; OIII: 8 x 1800 sec; SII: 8 x 1800 sec ( 12 hours total)
- Acquisition: CCD Autopilot 5; The SkyX
- Processing: PixInsight 1.8
- Date(s): November 12, 13, and 16, 2016
- Location: Portland, TN, USA
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