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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2006

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Crab Nebula (M1), Danny Gilmore

M1(Crab Nebula)

First discovered in 1054 A.D. by Chinese astronomers (actually when the supernova was erupting) this nebula proves to be a beautiful and breath-taking space phenomenon.  M1 is a supernova, which means that it was once a very large star, much larger than our sun, and in its last times as a large star, it condensed and basically exploded into a field of gases. It was first cataloged on September 12, 1758, by Charles Messier.  Interestingly enough, the discovery of this object by Messier led him to begin The Messier Catalog, which is quite large and in-depth, and is still widely used by astronomers around the world.
           

Later, in the 19th century, the first picture of the nebula was taken, and its nature was further investigated.  The red component seen is created by is mainly comprised of hydrogen, much like that of a planetary nebula. In the mid to late 1900s, much more was discovered about the object.  The linear size of this nebula is 171,000,000,000 km long, and the angular size is 20 arc minutes. For instance, it was then identified as a strong source of radio radiation, and at a far off distance of 6,300 light years, it was found that the nebula is 1,000 times brighter then that of our sun. The cause of the white (or clear) color is synchrotron radiation, which means that electrons are spinning around magnetic fields very quickly to create this color. It has also been found that the neutron star of this nebula is rotating at a very quite rate of about 30 times per second.  This object holds so much importance that there is an interesting separation among most modern astronomers: Those who do work related to the crab nebula, and those who don’t.

References:
Frommert, Hartmut. Kronberg, Cristine. "Messier 1." The Messier Catalog. <http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m001.html>.

 

Right Ascension (J2000) 05:34:30
Declination (J2000) +22:01:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 300 seconds each in BVRC
Date observed

October 12, 2006