Oakland Astronomy Club Image
M-27, The Dumbell Nebula in Vulpecula
M-27 is one of the more well known examples of a planetary nebula. A planetary nebula is formed when a dying star throws off its outermost layers due to internal force imbalances. The gas extends outward into space and is illuminated by the slowly-cooling remains of the star. It is thought that our sun will form a planetary nebula like this at end of its days. M-27 is estimated to be 812 light years away.
Color CCD image, 80 second composite binned exposure taken by Dave O'Toole on 8/28/1999 from Lake Orion, Michigan. The telescope used was a Celestron 8" SCT operating at f/3.3; the CCD camera used was an SBIG ST-237. Post processing was done with Adobe Photoshop
Image © 1999 David J. O'Toole, used with permission.