Feb 18, 2008

Explosion of the Crab Nebula

Take a look at the image. This is the mess that is left when a star explodes in the space. The Crab Nebula, Messier 1 (M1, NGC 1952), the result of a supernova seen in 1054 AD, is filled with mysterious filaments. The filaments are not only tremendously complex, but appear to have less mass than expelled in the original supernova and a higher speed than expected from a free explosion.

The above image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, is presented in three colors. The Crab Nebula spans about 10 light-years. In the nebula's very center lies a pulsar: a neutron star as massive as the Sun but with only the size of a small town! The Crab Pulsar rotates about 30 times each second. Credit: NASA


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