[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Calvin Observatory
Weather Forecast
Cool Images
Observing Request
External Links
Related Links
Wildrik Botjes Planetarium
Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2010

Previous imageUp to Astr110 IndexNext image

Crab Nebula, Billy Zeinstra

Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula was created after a supernova that was observed in 1054 AD. Not only was it observed by Chinese astronomers, but since it was visible to the naked eye for 23 days in daylight, and 653 days during the night, it was most likely seen by many Indians living in the western states of America. The first actual picture of the Crab Nebula was taken in 1892 with a 20-inch telescope. It has a magnitude of around . Charles Messier found it on August 28, 1758, when he was searching for Halley's Comet, and first thought that the Crab Nebula was a comet. After he realized it wasn't moving, though, he cataloged it on September 12, 1758, but also acknowledged that John Bevis had originally discovered it in 1731.

The filaments of the Crab Nebula hold great interest to astronomers because they carry the chemical legacy of when the supernova occurred. Almost all of the elements in the universe other than hydrogen and helium were formed inside of stars, then thrown into space in events like the Crab supernova. The earth and its people can only survive because of the gas cloud from which the solar system had been enriched in carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and many other elements from earlier stars. The colors of the Crab Nebula are all of its filaments and particles interacting with one another and making very colorful patterns. Its linear size is approximately 9 light years from its faint lower left corner to its top right corner, and its angular size is approximately 4.71 arc minutes.


Mitton, Simon, "Crab Nebula." Messier 1. <http://seds.org/messier/m/m001.html>

Hester et.al.1995. WFPC2 Studies of the Crab Nebula. I. HST and ROSAT Imaging of the Synchrotron Nebula. Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 448, p. 240-263 and plate 10-15 (July 20, 1995)

Right Ascension (J2000) 05:35:08
Declination (J2000) -22:01:26
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds
Date observed

March 3, 2010 (C)