The Universe Today : Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula was formed by the explosion of a supernova way back on July 4th, 1054 AD and it’s gas cloud is still expanding at a rapid rate…half the speed of light. When it exploded, the nebula was the second most brightest object in the night sky …after the Moon….  and was bright enough to be seen with the naked eye for the following 2 years.

At the center of the nebula is a neutron star which is only about 2 kilometers. Despite it’s size, this neutron star has the same mass as our Sun and is rotating at a speed of about 30 revolutions a second….which is pretty slow considering that some neutron stars rotate at  300 times a second.

With our processed picture of the nebula below, we emphasized the red and blue colors of the nebula. The blue areas show where there is neutral oxygen and the red area shows where  there is double ionized oxygen. We won’t get technical and go into the difference between the two.

The image below was processed by sydneystargazers.com

Crab Nebula 17th March 2011 (Click to Enlarge)

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~ by sydneystargazers on March 17, 2011.

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