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Contains:  M 76, Little Dumbbell, NGC 650
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M76 Little Dumbbell Nebula, 


            Jerry Macon
M76 Little Dumbbell Nebula

M76 Little Dumbbell Nebula

Technical card

Resolution: 2514x1776

Dates:Nov. 1, 2018Nov. 2, 2018

Astrodon Gen 2 RGB 36mm: 76x200" (gain: 99.00) -15C bin 1x1
Astrodon Gen 2 RGB 36mm: 35x400" (gain: 99.00) -15C bin 1x1

Integration: 8.1 hours

Avg. Moon age: 23.55 days

Avg. Moon phase: 35.43%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 4.00

Temperature: 10.00 job: 2346207

RA center: 25.654 degrees

DEC center: 51.537 degrees

Pixel scale: 0.680 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 355.729 degrees

Field radius: 0.291 degrees

Locations: Dark Star Observatory, Taos, New Mexico, United States

Data source: Own remote observatory

Remote source: Non-commercial independent facility


The Little Dumbbell Nebula, also known as Messier 76, NGC 650/651, the Barbell Nebula, or the Cork Nebula, is a planetary nebula in the constellation Perseus. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780 and included in Charles Messier's catalog of comet-like objects as number 76. It was first recognised as a planetary nebula in 1918 by the astronomer Heber Doust Curtis. However, there is some contention to this claim, as Isaac Roberts in 1891 did suggest that M76 might be similar to the Ring Nebula (M57), being instead as seen from the side view. The structure is now classed as a bipolar planetary nebula (BPNe). Distance to M76 is currently estimated as 2,500 light years, making the average dimensions about 1.23 ly across.

The total nebula shines at the apparent magnitude of +10.1 with its central star or planetary nebula nucleus (PNN) at +15.9v magnitude. The UV-light from the PNN is expanding outer layers that form the present nebula, and has the surface temperature of about 88,400 K. The whole planetary nebula is approaching us at 19.1 km/s.

The Little Dumbbell Nebula derives its common name from its resemblance to the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) in Vulpecula. It was originally thought to consist of two separate emission nebulae and was thus given two catalog numbers in the NGC 650 and 651. Some consider this object to be one of the faintest and hardest to see objects in Messier's list.



Jerry Macon
License: Attribution Creative Commons

Sky plot

Sky plot


M76 Little Dumbbell Nebula, 


            Jerry Macon