M27 (also known as Dumbbell Nebula) is a planetary nebula in constellation Vulpecula with an apparent diameter of about 16' (arcminutes). The nebulae lies at a distance of about 1300 ly from Earth (distance of the central star according to Gaia DR3).

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M27 (Dumbbell Nebula) in false colors (HO)
This pseudo color image is composed from H-alpha light (shown dark red to yellow) and [OIII] light (shown dark blue to cyan). This picture visualizes the faint outer structures which reveal that the true size is about 16'. Most sources state state only 7' to 8' which is the diameter of the bright inner structure (mostly cyan and yellow in image above).
M27 (Dumbbell Nebula) in false colors (OHS)
This image is a false color composite where [OIII] is mapped to red, H-alpha is mapped to green and [SII] is mapped to blue. Stars are partially subtracted using continuum images.
M27 (Dumbbell Nebula) in false colors (SHO)
Here [SII] is mapped to red, H-alpha is mapped to green and [OIII] is mapped to blue. This view makes the very faint sulfur structures (yellow to red) better visible than the image above. Due to the bad SNR of this channel, the image only emphasizes the bright inner structure which has a diameter of about 7'.

Image data

FOV: 0.31° × 0.31°
Date: 2020-2021
Location: Pulsnitz, Germany
Instrument: 400mm Newton at f=1520mm
Camera Sensor: Panasonic MN34230
Orientation: North is up (approximately)
Scale: 0.8 arcsec/pixel (at full resolution)
Total exposure times:
H-alpha (3nm): 10.0 h
[OIII] (3nm): 8.8 h
[SII] (3nm): 16.2 h
NIR: 0.7 h
Blue: 0.7 h

Image processing

All image processing steps are deterministic, i.e. there was no manual retouching or any other kind of non-reproducible adjustment. The software which was used can be downloaded here.

Image processing steps where:

  1. Bias correction, photon counting
  2. Dark current subtraction, flatfield correction, noise estimation
  3. Alignment and brightness calibration using stars from reference image
  4. Stacking with masking unlikely values and background correction
  5. Extracting stars from the emission line images using information from continuum images
  6. Denoising and deconvolution both components (stars and residual)
  7. RGB-composition
  8. Dynamic range compression using non-linear high-pass filter
  9. Tonal curve correction

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