The Crab Nebula Supernova Remnant

The Crab Nebula Supernova Remnant

. The Crab Nebula (M1 or NGC 1952) is an expanding cloud of interstellar gas that was ejected by the supernova explosion of a massive star, about 9 solar masses, in 1054 A.D.. The filamentary gases are expanding at a velocity of 1.5 million meters per second. The red-yellow wisps of gas shine primarily in the light of hydrogen, while the blue-white light is the non-thermal radiation of high-speed electrons spiraling in magnetic fields. The south-westernmost (bottom-right) of the two central stars is the remnant neutron star of the supernova explosion, and a radio pulsar with a period of 0.33 seconds. This supernova remnant has angular dimensions of 4.5 x 7 arc minutes; it is located at a distance of 1,930 110 parsecs and has a diameter of 2.9 parsecs. This famous supernova remnant is also a source of intense emission at radio and X-ray wavelengths. (Courtesy of Rudolph Schild, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University