A colorful Crab Nebula (NGC 1952)

In this composite image made from data acquired by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA, radio data colored in red), NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared, yellow), the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (optical wavelengths, green), ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope (ultraviolet radiation, blue) and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (X-ray, purple), you can see the Crab Nebula (Messier 1, NGC 1952) and the Crab Pulsar.

The young neutron star at its center is a remnant of the supernova SN 1054 (https://goo.gl/zPsvdM), which was observed on Earth in the year 1054. The nebula and pulsar are located in the constellation of Taurus (The Bull, https://goo.gl/9FLfn0), about 6,500 light-years away from Earth.

While only about 20 kilometers in diameter the Crab Pulsar is about 40 percent more massive than our Sun and its pulsar "beams" rotate once every 33 milliseconds, or 30 times each second. The strong radiation of the pulsar is driving the pulsar wind nebula (https://goo.gl/IATIk) surrounding it.

The Crab Nebula got its name from the Anglo-Irish astronomer William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse (https://goo.gl/9U9KGN), who observed the object in 1840 and whose drawing of the nebula looked like a crab. (https://archive.org/stream/jstor-108366/108366#page/n5/mode/2up)

More information here:
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1720a/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_Nebula
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_Pulsar

Take a look here for a video of the Crab Nebula in different wavelengths:
https://www.spacetelescope.org/videos/potw1720a/

It is a very fascinating and colorful image, showing the Crab Nebula over big parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. If you want to learn more about colors in astrophotography and why objects can look so different you should read this article I wrote for PhotographingSpace:
https://photographingspace.com/ap-color/

And if you want to learn more about the different kinds of nebulae you should read:
https://photographingspace.com/what-are-nebulae/

What is a pulsar (pulsating radio star)?

A pulsar is a type of neutron star, those are extremely dense and massive stars made up almost entirely of neutrons.They are the result of a gravitational collapse of a massive star following a supernova. Pulsars are highly magnetized and have short rotational periods. They are emitting beams of electromagnetic radiation which, when oriented in a way so a beam is facing Earth, can be detected. Because pulsars are rotating this beam rotates in an out of view resulting in a pulsating signal. More information here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulsar
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_star
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova#Core_collapse

More on supernova remnants:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova_remnant

Image credit: Crab Nebula NASA, ESA, G. Dubner (IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires) et al.; A. Loll et al.; T. Temim et al.; F. Seward et al.; VLA/NRAO/AUI/NSF; Chandra/CXC; Spitzer/JPL-Caltech; XMM-Newton/ESA; and Hubble/STScI https://goo.gl/IOmR7A

Thank you for your interest in this Astronomy/Astrophysics collection. Maybe add me on Google+ (+Pierre Markuse) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/Pierre_Markuse) or have a look at the Space/Space Technology collection here: https://goo.gl/5KP0wx

#science #astronomy #crabnebula #supernovaremnant #pulsar #ngc1952 #space #hubble #hst #spitzer #chandra #vla #xmmnewton
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