Planetary Nebula M-76 (NGC 650 & 651)

Planetary Nebula M-76, the Little Dumb-bell

A 2 hour exposure thru Kopernik Observatory's 20-inch telescope using an SBIG STL-1301E CCD camera.



M-76 is a faint Planetary Nebula located in the extreme western portion of the constellation Perseus. It is sometimes called the "Little Dumbbell" (see M-27, the Dumbbell Nebula). In small telescopes it appears as a roughly rectangular or box-shaped mass measuring about 2' x 1'. However, as can be seen in the Kopernik CCD image, this central mass is surrounded buy great arcs or nebulous filaments of gas.

The central star (old stellar core) has a surface temperature of about 60,000K. Distances to planetary nebulae are difficult to determine. Rough estimates for M-76ís distance range from 1,750 light years all the way to 8,200 light years. If it is at the lower distance the actual diameter of the nebula would be about 1 light year.

For more about Planetary Nebulae, including additional links, click here.