Photographer Spies Little Dumbbell Nebula in a Sea of Stars

Little Dumbbell Nebula
Astrophotographer Ron Brecher took this image of the Little Dumbbell Nebula earlier this year from Guelph, Ontario. (Image credit: Ron Brecher/

This little gem in a wide field of stars is the Little Dumbbell Nebula, the faintest object in the Messier catalogue. 

Astrophotographer Ron Brecher took this image earlier this year from Guelph, Ontario. 

"You can really get a sense of the vastness of space and the seemingly infinite number of stars out there," Brecher wrote in an email to 

The Little Dumbbell Nebula, or M76, is named after it's bigger, brighter neighbor, the Dumbbell Nebula. Located about 2.500 light-years away, the Little Dumbbell Nebula lies in the constellation Perseus. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

Planetary nebula like these are caused by the cloud of dust around a central star blowing off into space, and is illuminated by radiation from the core. The red color is caused by Hydrogen accounts and mostly oxygen accounts for the blue-green.  

"Stars at least 500 times fainter are scattered throughout this image, along with numerous faint and distant galaxies, each of them made of billions of stars," Brecher added. 

Brecher used a SBIG STL-11000M camera with  Baader LRGB filters, 10" f/6.8 ASA astrograph and Paramount MX to create this image. You can read more about on his website here

You can see more amazing night sky photos by our readers in our astrophotography archive here.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share with us and our news partners for a possible story or image gallery, send images and comments in to:

Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+. Original story on

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for She began writing and producing content for in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.