Messier 76 - NGC 650 - NGC 651

No dss image available for Messier 76
Aladin viewer for the region around Messier 76
Little Dumbbell Nebula, Barbell Nebula, Cork Nebula, Butterfly Nebula
GC 385, PK 130-10 1, G130.9-10.5

Type  Planetary Nebula
Magnitude  12
Size  4.8' x 2.72'
Right Ascension  1h 42' 19.7"  (2000)
Declination  51° 34' 32" N
Constellation  Perseus
Description  vB, p of Dneb
Classification  3(6)
Observing Notes

Andrew Cooper
Aug 21, 2023    Waikoloa, HI (map)
20cm f/6 Newtonian, Cave Astrola @ 76x
Seeing: 6 Transparency: 6 Moon: 0%

Small, 3' x 2' extended northeast to southwest, bright and obvious 1° north of φ Per, not visible in the 40mm finder, the structure is that of two lobes with the southwestern lobe notably brighter than the northeastern, no color noted, no central star visible

Andrew Cooper
Jul 20, 2023    Oregon Star Party, Ochoco Mts, OR (map)
25cm f/4.5 Newtonian, Holoholo @ 127x
Seeing: 7 Transparency: 6 Moon: 0%

Bright, obvious, a double lobed structure spanning 3' x 2' northwest to southeast, the northeast and southwestern margins are well defined otherwise fading gradually, no color noted, no central star visible, the southeastern lobe notably brighter

Andrew Cooper
Oct 21, 2006    TIMPA, Avra Valley, AZ (map)
12x36 Canon Image Stabilized Binoculars

Conditions ideal, target at transit, no detection!!

Andrew Cooper
Sep 30, 2005    Gila, New Mexico (map)
90mm F/12 APO Violet Haze

Small, very faint, cannot distinguish NGC650 from NGC651, small nebular patch with no detail, how did Messier find this one?

Andrew Cooper
Dec 27, 2003    TIMPA, Avra Valley, AZ (map)
46cm f/4.5 Deep Violet

Very nice planetary, good sized, bright, distinct dumbbell shape, much brighter on the southern lobe. A little confusion on the number at first, I had been unaware that Herschel had assigned two separate numbers to the separate lobes, Dreyer also assigning two separate numbers in the NGC (NGC651 and NGC650). I did not see the outer halo, need to try again with an OIII filter

Rev. T.W. Webb
May 19, 1885    Hardwick, Herefordshire, England (map)

Pearly white nebula, double, curious miniature of M27 and like it gaseous, preceding a little brighter. E. of Rosse, spiral. Lick photo, the two joined and traces of a ring.
― Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes, T. W. Webb, 1917

Captain William Henry Smyth
Oct 16, 1837    No. 6 The Crescent, Bedford, England (map)
150mm f/17.6 refractor by Tully 1827

An oval pearly white nebula, nearly half-way between γ Andromedæ and δ Cassiopeæ; close to the toe of Andromeda, though figured in the precincts of Perseus. It trends north and south, with two stars preceding by 11s [TYC 3291-1467-1 mag 12.1] and 50s [HD 10243 mag 9.5], and two following nearly on the parallel, by 19s [TYC 3291-1352-1 mag 11.4] and 36s [TYC 3291-1262-1 mag 11.6]; and just np of it is the double star above registered, of which A is 9, white; and B 14, dusky [TYC 3291-1565-1 mag 10.95 and Gaia DR2 406333356795649920 mag 11].

When first discovered, Mechain considered it as a mass of nebulosity; but Messier thought it was a compressed cluster; and William Herschel that it was an irresolvable double nebula.

It has an intensely rich vicinity, and with its companions, was closely watched in my observatory, as a gauge of light, during the total eclipse of the moon, on the 13th of October, 1837, being remarkably well seen during the darkness, and gradually fading as the moon emerged.

In 1842, I consulted Mr. Challis upon the definition of this nebula in the great Northumberland equatoreal, and he replied: "I looked at the nebula, as you desired, and thought it had a spangled appearance. The resolution, however, was very doubtful."
― A Cycle of Celestial Objects Vol II, The Bedford Catalogue, William Henry Smyth, 1844

William Herschel
Nov 12, 1787    Observatory House, Slough (map)

Two nebulae close together. Both very bright. Distance 2'. One is south preceding and the other north following. One is 76 of the Connoissance.

Charles Messier
Oct 21, 1780    

Nebula at the right foot of Andromeda, seen by M. Méchain on September 5, 1780, & he reports: "This nebula contains no star; it is small and faint". On the following October 21, M. Messier looked for it with his achromatic telescope, & it seemed to him that it was composed of nothing but small stars, containing nebulosity, & that the least light employed to illuminate the micrometer wires causes it disappear: its position was determined from the star Phi Andromedae, of fourth magnitude.
― Connaissance des Temps, 1781
Other Data Sources for Messier 76
Nearby objects for Messier 76
2 objects found within 120'
Phi Persei PK130-11.1

Drawings, descriptions, and CCD photos are copyright Andrew Cooper unless otherwise noted, no usage without permission.

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Messier 76