Dumb (but successful) indoor(!) viewing of M27, the Dumbbell Nebula

2011-12-28 18:30 – 19:30 CST
Location: 93d36’W 41d44’N
~40 F (outside), cloudy
Seeing: 1.5/5, Trans.: 3/5
Equipment used: Zhumell Z10 10″ reflector, 30mm EP (41x), and 2x Barlow (82x)

Messier 27, the Dumbbell Nebula

I tried to get a decent look at the Dumbbell nebula a few nights ago, but was thwarted by clouds and bad transparency. I thought tonight would be a no-go as well, but I’m stubborn. We had about a 1-hour window tonight from sundown to when the clouds rolled in (and M27 dropped below the neighbor’s roofline).

My 4-year-old son and I were home while the ladies were out. I knew I had a short time and seeing would be AWFUL (it was), but I tried anyway. And, too make things even more challenging, we observed it from inside the house, with the scope pointing through an open sliding door!

M27 is a cool nebula, and at 41x-82x it’s huge and bright! I was even able to discern the dumbbell shape with averted vision. Viewing was decent without a filter, but I tried both a UHC and OIII filter to see what would happen. The UHC filter helped immensely and is highly recommended. Even my son could see it, and asked “what is that thing, Daddy?”

To recap, I had all this working against me:

* red suburban sky
* clouds
* extremely poor seeing
* near twilight (18:30 local time)
* viewing from indoors through an open door (HELLOOOO heat currents!)

…and still saw the Dumbbell Nebula, Messier 27, without issue. Awesome!

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