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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2006

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Crab Nebula (NGC 1952), Jared Sanders

Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula is a supernova explosion that occured over 900 years ago. The Crab Nebula is 6300 light years away and is found in the constellation of Taurus. It was discovered in 1758 by Charles Messier while he was looking for comets. This nebula has something in its center called a Pulsar, which spins very quicly, about 30 times per second, because of its density. This star had a mass that was about 10 to 15 times the mass of the sun. The Pulsar is about the size of the earth but has a mass like that of the sun, so it is extremely dense. This Nebula creates a rare kind of radiation called synchrotron radiation. This nebula also emits linearly polarized light.

The red filaments that are seen in this nebula are a result of electrons recombining with protons to form neutral hydrogen.. The pulsar in this image is located near the left of the pair of stars at the center of the nebula, which was the nucleus of the original star. Blue color indicates electrons that are spinning around the pulsar. This means that blue is found near the center of the nebula whereas red is found toward the edges. This star exploded nearly a milennium ago in the year 1054 AD and it is still expanding and we are still receiving new images. The object in the picture has an angular size of about 3.5 arc minutes. By using the small angle formula and the nebula's distance, I calculated a linear diameter of about 6.414 light years.

 

References:
Nemiroff, Robert, and Jerry Bonnell. 1999. 16 Nov. 2006 <http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap991122.html>.

Arnett, Bill. 1999. 16 Nov. 2006 <http://astro.nineplanets.org/twn/n1952x.html>.

n.d. 16 Nov. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_Nebula>.

 

Right Ascension (J2000) 5:34:30
Declination (J2000) 22:01:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in BVRC
Date observed October 19, 2006