M27: Dumbbell Nebula

M27, or the Dumbbell Nebula, was the first planetary nebula discovered, in 1764. It is called the DumbbellNebula as the gas inside it forms the shape of a dumbbell or bowtie. We see this nebula face-on.

 

M27 is a good example of a gaseous emission nebula, Which is created when a star like our Sun runs out of fuel. As the star expels its outer layers into space, the nebula forms. It is roughly 1,200 light years away, and covers an area of the sky half the size of the full Moon, but most of it is too faint to be seen.

M27: Dumbbell Nebula