M76 is a planetary nebula formed by gas that is cast off by a dying star. The dying star is a hot dwarf star whose intense radiation is responsible for making the nebula gas glow. M76 is called the Little Dumbbell Nebula because in a small telescope it looks like a miniature version of the Dumbbell Nebula, which is designated M27 on the Messier List. M76 is located about 4,000 light-years away in the constellation Perseus. It is about one light-year across. Rated at magnitude 10.1, it is considered to be the faintest object on the Messier List.
This is an RGB color composite CCD image taken with a Takahashi Mewlon 210 telescope using an ST-8XE CCD. The image was taken from my backyard in Scottsdale, Arizona.
M76 (NGC 650 & NGC 651)
RA: 01h 42m 18s Dec: +51d 34' 17" (J2000)
June 12, 2005
Image by Sid Leach
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