The Dumbell Nebula
Messier Catalogue: M 27
Constellation: Vulpecula - The Vixen

One of the most outstanding planetaries in the entire sky is the famous dumbell nebula. The unique role it has on the list of each amateur astronomers, even those with limited equipment, is its remarkable combination of brighness, size and detail it shows even to the visual observer. The central star's atmosphere does not appear as a spherical ring like M57 does, but as an obviously bipolar nebula after the shape of it the name was given.

The combination of red light at the front of the shell and greenish light in the middle of the nebula is again indicative for the spectroscopic fingerprint of ionized hydrogen and oxygen. The faint outskirts to the upper right and lower left are less prominent in the visual appearance, thus leaving the impression of a dumbell-like shape.

This was the first well guided picture with my new 8" RC telescope which replaced my old SC which had served my astronomical ambitions so well. Unfortunately there is still room for improvement regarding the optics alignment, so the stars appear somewhat elongated. However, I wanted to share this somewhat suboptimal picture with you to illustrate how much detail can be captured with just 8 inches aperture at "first light". Specifically when you compare it with an analog picture from the previous century...

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