M27 is a very rewarding object for small telescopes. This planetary nebula is easily visible with a pair of binoculars ( see Binocular Icon 58
). The view with my 4 inch refractor is truly impressive. M27 is so bright that its southern portion is even visible with direct vision. I had hoped to detect a few stars within the nebula, but without success. This planetary nebula appeared to be built up with three distinct features. The brightest feature is the hour glass. The next brightest structure is a soft rectangular that encompasses the hourglass shape. But the most rewarding element in the whole observation is the subtle glow of the â€˜earsâ€™ or lobes on each side of the dumbbell. The eastern lobe is more conspicuous than the western lobe. I noticed that these ears where visible at low power, while they disappeared at medium power. The best magnification for my refractor to observe the ears during these midsummer nights is around 30x, while most of the details of the sketch are drawn at 63x.
Site : Bekkevoort, Belgium ( 51Â° N )
Date : June 23, 2009
Time : around 23.30 UT
Scope : Skywatcher 102/500mm achromatic refractor
Eyepiece : Baader Hyperion Zoom at 8mm
Magnification : 63x
Filter : none
Seeing : 3/5
Transp. : 3/5
Sky brightness : 19.72 magnitudes per square arc second near zenith (SQM reading).
Sketch Orientation: N up, W right.
Digital sketch made with Corel Paint Shop Pro X2, based on a raw pencil sketch.