Messier 27 The Dumbbell Nebula

M27Click here for an annotated version of this target.

M27, also known as The Dumbbell Nebula, is a planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula. This is a beautiful and vivid target that is large and bright and easily visible through binoculars. M27 is about 1227 light-years away.

The nebula is illuminated by a white dwarf star in the center.

This was the first planetary nebula discovered by Charles Messier in 1764

The area of the sky in Vulpecula that is photographedHere you can see the area of the sky in Vulpecula imaged.

M27Click here for an annotated version of this target.

I wanted to have a lot more data with this target. However, when I setup up my scope for this night, I discovered that the apartment complex that I recently moved into had sprinklers set up all across the field. After five frames, I heard the sprinklers go off, and I had to pick up my gear and move to a dry spot, thus ending my night.

I had to use an Optolong L-eNhance 2″ filter due to the moon being 97% and my setup being under Bortle 6/7 skies.

Processing Info

I stacked the five light frames along with 40 dark and 50 flat frames in PixInsight.

The following processes were performed in PixInsight:

  • Dynamic Crop
  • Automatic Background Extraction
  • Background Neutralization
  • Photometric Color Calibration
  • MultiScale Linear Transform
  • Histogram Transformation
  • Curves Transformation
  • HDR Multiscale Transformation

Once I found what I liked, I saved the files, went to Photoshop, and ran Topaz AI DeNoise. This is an amazing plugin that works like magic.

Acquisition Data

  • Telescope: Explore Scientific ED127 Air-Spaced Triplet Apochromatic Refractor
  • Camera: ASI071MC Pro
  • Guide Scope: Orion ST80
  • Guide Camera: ASI290MM Mini. Dithering every image at 1 pixel each time.
  • Mount: iOptron CEM60
  • Software: NINA for image acquisition. PixInsight is used for stacking and editing. Imported to Photoshop for final touchup and watermarking.
  • Other Accessories: AstroZap Dew Heater, Explore Scientific 2″ Field Flattener, ZWO EAF Motorized Focuser, Pegasus Astro Power Box Advance
  • Filters: Optlong L-eNhance 2″
  • Exposure Time: 25 minutes (5 X 300 seconds). Gain 90, -10°C bin 1×1
  • Exposure Start: 02:00
  • Date: July 08, 2020
  • Location: Raritan, NJ, United States
  • Temperature: 74°F/23.3°C
  • Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 6
  • job: 3814340
  • Avg. Moon age: 16.11 Days
  • Avg. Moon phase: 97.98%
  • RA center: 19h 59′ 36″
  • DEC center: +22° 43′ 1″
  • Orientation: 90.643 degrees
  • Field radius: 0.653 degrees
  • Magnitude: 7.5
  • Resolution: 3720 x 2330