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Astr111 Photography Projects, Spring 2007

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M1 (Crab Nebula) NGC 1952, David Wolfe

M1 Crab Nebula

The total nebula from one side to the other is approximately 4.9 arc minutes across. The actual linear size of the Crab Nebula, though, is approximately 9 light-years across.

This is a picture of M1 NGC 1952 (Crab Nebula). It is a nebula left over from when a star went supernova in 1054 A.D. found in the Taurus Constellation. A nebula occurring from the remnants of a supernova is one consisting of the gasses and other remaining materials, that were expelled by the dying star. The supernova was seen on earth by Chinese Astronomers on July 4, 1054 A.D. The Crab Nebula, itself, was discovered by an amateur British Astronomer, by the name of Vohn Bevis, in the year 1731. The nebula was re-discovered on August 28, 1758 by a man called Charles Messier (hence the designation M1, when he was searching for the returning Halley's Comet. After finding that the Crab Nebula had already been discovered, Messier renounced his claim of discovery. The Crab Nebula's distance to Earth is approximately 6,300 light-years.

As you can see, when looking at this picture, the Crab Nebula is made up of gasses expanding from the remnants of the supernova of 1054 A.D. The distinctive colors of this nebula tell us which distinctive gases were dispelled through the Nebula during the supernova. The green gase for instance is hydrogen, which is vital for human life. It is therefore entirely possible that a star went supernova sometime in the past, thereby providing the oxygen needed for Earth to be able to support Human beings after it was formed. M1 also consists of a star, seen inside the gas cloud, that radiate both radio waves and X-Rays (as has been confirmed in 1949, and April 1963 respectively) called a Pulsar. The current size of the Crab Nebula is around 10 light-years, but it seems to be slowly expanding each year. Finally, this Nebula has also been classified as highly luminescent. Unlike other Nebulas, though, the Crab Nebula is not fading from sight. Its continued luminosity comes from the fact that the Pulsar is still rotating, and thereby giving off a lot of energy with every rotation.

Hartmut Frommert, Christine Kronberg



Robert Nemiroff (MTU), Jerry Bonnell (USRA)--NASA


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 5x60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR
Date observed

March 1, 2007 (CBVR)