Heart of the Crab

Noirlab_iotw2043a_1024

noirlab_iotw2043a October 21st, 2020

Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA Acknowledgments:Image processing: Jen Miller (Gemini Observatory/NSF's NOIRLab), Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), Mahdi Zamani & Davide de Martin

In the heart of the Crab Nebula (Messier 1) a neutron star is rotating 30 times every single second. This pirouetting star, known as the Crab Pulsar, consists purely of neutrons, and has an intense magnetic field which ejects jets of material from its poles at nearly the speed of light. The Crab Pulsar has a mass about one and a half times that of our Sun, yet all this mass is packed into a sphere only 28 km (17 miles) in diameter roughly the size of Marss small moon Phobos. The wispy structures shown in this image are caused by material flowing equatorially outwards from the pulsar and careening into the surrounding nebula. These dynamic features, known as termination shocks, move and change shape as outflow from the puslar ebbs and flows. This changeability is showcased by this composite image, which is a compilation of three Gemini North observations taken over a 5-year period at the same infrared wavelength: observations from October 2009 are shown in blue and observations from December 2014 are shown in red. This color coding of the observations produces a striking rainbow effect highlighting the high speed motion of the termination shocks, which have noticeably changed position between observations. Gemini North on Maunakea, Hawaii, is one of the pair of telescopes that make up the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSFs NOIRLab.

Provider: NOIRLab

Image Source: https://noirlab.edu/public/images/iotw2043a/

Curator: NSF's NOIRLab, Tucson, AZ, USA

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Crab Nebula
Noirlab_iotw2043a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 5h 34m 31.9s
DEC = 22° 0’ 51.8”
Orientation
North is 89.9° CCW
Field of View
0.4 x 0.4 arcminutes
Constellation
Taurus

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Red Gemini North (NIRI) Infrared (K prime) 2.1 µm
Green Gemini North (NIRI) Infrared (K prime) 2.1 µm
Blue Gemini North (NIRI) Infrared (K) 2.2 µm
Spectrum_base
Red
Green
Blue
Noirlab_iotw2043a_1280
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ID
iotw2043a
Subject Category
Subject Name
Crab Nebula
Credits
International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA Acknowledgments:Image processing: Jen Miller (Gemini Observatory/NSF's NOIRLab), Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), Mahdi Zamani & Davide de Martin
Release Date
2020-10-21T07:48:23
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://noirlab.edu/public/images/iotw2043a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Gemini North, Gemini North, Gemini North
Instrument
NIRI, NIRI, NIRI
Color Assignment
Red, Green, Blue
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
K prime, K prime, K
Central Wavelength
2120, 2120, 2200
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
None, None, None
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
83.6328163815, 22.0144014459
Reference Dimension
2000.0, 2004.0
Reference Pixel
1000.0, 1002.0
Scale
-3.66686326455e-06, 3.66686326455e-06
Rotation
89.880000000000052
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
NSF's NOIRLab
URL
https://noirlab.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
950 North Cherry Ave.
City
Tucson
State/Province
AZ
Postal Code
85719
Country
USA
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
NSF's NOIRLab
Publisher ID
noirlab
Resource ID
iotw2043a
Metadata Date
2020-10-20T15:11:49-05:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.