Tag: Dumbbell Nebula

Thus spoked the Dumbbell

By Phil Plait | September 7, 2011 6:30 am

My love for planetary nebulae is on record. These expanding shells of gas from dying stars are really beautiful, and I find the physics of the way the gas is ejected to be fascinating. I’ve written about them a lot: check the Related Posts at the end of this article for links.

I like to observe them, too. In the summer there are quite a few that are easy targets, and one of the easiest to find is called M27, the Dumbbell. It’s in the constellation of Vulpecula (the fox), and is big and bright enough to spot easily in binoculars. I’ve probably seen it with my own eyes, no lie, hundreds of times.

But I’ve never seen it like this:

[Click to ennebulenate.]

Holy wow! That’s so cool! Literally: this is an infrared image taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope, showing it in light well beyond what our eyes can perceive.

That’s not at all how I’m used to seeing it! Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures
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