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Wildrik Botjes Planetarium
Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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Crab Nebula (NGC 3351), Cory Visser

Helix Nebula

The Crab

The Crab Nebula was first discovered by John Beivs who was an amateur British astronomer in 1731. Although officially discovered in 1781 the first time it was noted was in 1054 by the Chinese’s. According to records the supernova was visible from earth for more than 23 days during the day and 653 days at night. The Crab Nebula is actually the remnant of the supernova that exploded in 1054. The Crab Nebula is about 6,500 light years away and is in the Taurus galaxy.

The Crab Nebula is actually the remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova. This is exciting because as you can see in the centers of the image are several main pieces that are left that are surrounded by a white cloud. Red streaks are also visible throughout the image; this is caused by the remaining stars burning hydrogen. The core of the star survived the explosion and visible are two bright stars in the right hand corner of the image. The pulsar is a neutron star that spins on its axis 30 times a second. It heats its surroundings, creating the ghostly white gas. This Crab Nebula is one of a kind. The white cloud that surrounds the remaining star pieces is actually polarized. This is the only known object in space that does this. The reason why this happens is because of Synchrotron Radiation.

References:
Messier 1. Eds. Hartmut Frommert and Christine Kronberg. 22 Aug. 2007. 13 Nov. 2007 <http://seds.org/messier/m/m001.html>.

Blair, W P. Peering into the Heart of the Crab Nebula. 1 June 2000. NASA. 13 Nov. 2007 <http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2000/15/>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 05 : 34.59
Declination (J2000) +22 : 0127
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR
Date observed

o (C)
October 22, 2007 (BVR)