Little Dumb­bell Neb­ula (M76) in Perseus

The plan­et­ary Neb­ula Messi­er 76 (M76, NGC 650/​651) is one of the faintest Messi­er Objects, and one of only four plan­et­ary neb­u­lae in Messi­er­’s cata­log, situ­ated in the East­ern part of con­stel­la­tion Perseus.

The appear­ance of M76 resembles to some degree that of the Dumb­bell Neb­ula M27. Most prob­ably, the main body (the bar, or cork) is a bright and slightly ellipt­ic­al ring we see edge-on, from only a few degrees off its equat­ori­al plane. This ring seems to expand at about 42 km/​sec. Along the axis per­pen­dic­u­lar to this plane, the gas expands sig­ni­fic­antly more rap­idly to form the lower sur­face bright­ness “wings” of the butterfly.

This image is a com­bin­a­tion of a long exposed nar­row­band image (Hal­pha 5nm/​OIII 3nm) of the plan­et­ary neb­ula with a short expos­ure RGB image of the star field. North is at 3 o’clock.

[descrip­tion from]


RCOS 14.5″ f/​8
Apo­gee U16M
Astro­don Gen2
HaOIIIR­GB 1200:1320:180:140:180 min.
ROSA Remote Obser­vat­or­ies South­ern Alps
© Mar­tin Ruster­holz, Astrophotographer

Find­er Chart Little Dumb­bell Neb­ula (M76) in Perseus

M76 Nebula Sky Chart - Astrophotography Martin Rusterholz

Image cre­ated by Skychart

About Me

Hello, my name is Martin Rusterholz. I’m a Swiss amateur astrophotographer living near Zurich, the biggest town in Switzerland. My interest in astronomy started when I was 16. At that time, I built my first Newtonian telescope and mount. I studied physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) which was the only study including at least some aspects of astronomy and astrophysics. “Looking at the nights sky is an experience touching everybody deeply inside, something common to all human beings independent to the language spoken by the individuals”. Deep-sky astrophotography is my passion.