Friday, August 05, 2022

The Crab Nebula in Taurus | European Southern Observatory

The Crab Nebula in Taurus | European Southern Observatory

This photo shows a three color composite of the well-known Crab Nebula (also known as Messier 1), as observed with the FORS2 instrument in imaging mode on the morning of November 10, 1999. It is the remnant of a supernova explosion at a distance of about 6,000 light-years, observed almost 1,000 years ago, in the year 1054. It contains a neutron star near its center that spins 30 times per second around its axis (see below).

In this picture, the green light is predominantly produced by hydrogen emission from material ejected by the star that exploded. The blue light is predominantly emitted by very high-energy ("relativistic") electrons that spiral in a large-scale magnetic field (so-called synchrotron emission). It is believed that these electrons are continuously accelerated and ejected by the rapidly spinning neutron star at the center of the nebula and which is the remnant core of the exploded star. This pulsar has been identified with the lower/right of the two close stars near the geometric center of the nebula, immediately left of the small arc-like feature.

Credit: European Southern Observatory (ESO)

Release Date: November 17, 1999

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