M 27 – The Dumbbell Nebula


The Dumbbell nebula is one of the favorites among amateur astronomers. It is large, bright, colorful and with an unusual shape. It is found in the little-known constellation Vulpecula but it is still easy to find using the surrounding constellations. It is also called the Apple core or the Hourglass.

The photo I took is a little different from the ones we normally see because I wanted to bring out its internal structure using narrow bandwidth filters. The reddish tints reveal the presence of Hydrogen-Alpha while green and blue indicate the presence of doubly ionized oxygen, which also overflows the main body of the nebula.

Technical details:

Telescope: Celestron Edge HD14 with 0.7x focal reducer
Mount: Paramount MX +
Camera: ZWO ASI 1600MM
Filters: Astrodon 1.25″ LRGB Filters and ZWO narrowband H-alpha and O-III filters
Exposure: 20 x 4 minutes in LRGB, 22 x 10 min in H-Alpha, and 14 x 10 min in O-III.
Processing with Pixinsight. LRGB for stars and HOO for the nebula, H-Alpha being assigned to red and Oxygen III assigned to green and blue.