M76 Little Dumbbell Nebula - Also known as Messier 76, M76, NGC 650/651, the Barbell Nebula, or the Cork Nebula, is a planetary nebula in the constellation Perseus. It was discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1780 and included in Charles Messier's catalog of objects as number 76. It was first recognised as a planetary nebula in 1918 by the astronomer Heber Doust Curtis. However, there is some contention to this claim, as Isaac Roberts in 1891 did suggest that M76 might be similar to the Ring Nebula (M57), being instead as seen from the side view. The structure is now classed as a bipolar planetary nebula (BPNe). Distance to M76 is currently estimated as 780 parsecs or 2,500 light years, making the average dimensions about 0.378 pc. (1.23 ly.) across.
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