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Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2009

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Crab Nebula , Stephanie Parker

Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula is known to be one of the most fascinating objects of the Winter night sky. It is located near the tip of one of Taurus the Bull's horns which is in the Taurus Constellation. The Crab Nebula was discovered by the astronomer John Bevies in 1731. The Crab nebula is a supernova remnant that was created by a supernova explosion. It is the most famous and conspicuous known supernova remnant. The expanding cloud of gas created in the explosion of a star as supernova which was observed in the year 1054 AD. It is said to be that the Crab Nebula is over 900 years old and is expanding at an average of about 0.2" per year. Its distance away from the earth is about 6500 light years. The Crab Nebula's angular size is 6x4 arc minutes and has a visual magnitude of 8.4. The entire nebular has a diameter of 11 light years

An interesting fact about the Crab Nebula is that in the center of its core the neutron star is a pulsar which rotates 33 times per second, which spits out energry that powers the nebula. As you look above at the picture you will notice that the pulsar is the bright spot in the middle of the Nebula. The very small star has a magnitude roughly about 8.4, which means that one cannot see the crab nebula by the naked eye because the higher the number is on the scale the dimmer the object is.The fingers, loops, and bays in the image all indicate that the magnetic field of the nebula and filaments of cooler matter are controlling the motion of the electrons and positrons. Electrons moving around the magnetic field of the object causes synchroton radiation, which appears in white.Syncroton radiation is when moving charges spiral in a magnetic field, they produce radiation as a result of their accelerations. The red in the picture reveals doubly ionized hydrogen and is the densest, coolest gas. Although you may think the Crab Nebula is pretty "cool," the "cool" gas in the image is still about 10,000 degrees fahrenheit!



The Crab Nebula


Crab Nebula


The Crab Nebula


Messier 1


Astronomy Almanac, The Crab Nebula




Right Ascension (J2000) '05 34 30.00'
Declination (J2000) +'22 01 00.0'
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

November 9, 2009 (C)
November 9, 2009 (BVR)