Observatories Combine to Crack Open the Crab Nebula

Stsci_2017-21_1024

stsci_2017-21 May 10th, 2017

Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Dubner (IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires) et al.; A. Loll et al.; T. Temim et al.; F. Seward et al.; VLA/NRAO/AUI/NSF; Chandra/CXC; Spitzer/JPL-Caltech; XMM-Newton/ESA; and Hubble/STScI

Colorful New Portrait Shows Energetic Details Embedded in Supernova Remnant

In the summer of the year 1054 AD, Chinese astronomers saw a new "guest star," that appeared six times brighter than Venus. So bright in fact, it could be seen during the daytime for several months. Halfway around the world, Native Americans made pictographs of a crescent moon with the bright star nearby that some think may also have been a record of the supernova.

This "guest star" was forgotten about until 700 years later with the advent of telescopes. Astronomers saw a tentacle-like nebula in the place of the vanished star and called it the Crab Nebula. Today we know it as the expanding gaseous remnant from a star that self-detonated as a supernova, briefly shining as brightly as 400 million suns. The explosion took place 6,500 light-years away. If the blast had instead happened 50 light-years away it would have irradiated Earth, wiping out most life forms.

In the late 1960s astronomers discovered the crushed heart of the doomed star, an ultra-dense neutron star that is a dynamo of intense magnetic field and radiation energizing the nebula. Astronomers therefore need to study the Crab Nebula across a broad range of electromagnetic radiation, from X-rays to radio waves. This composite picture from five observatories captures the complexity of this tortured-looking supernova remnant.

Provider: Hubble Space Telescope | STScI

Image Source: http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2017-21

Curator: STScI, Baltimore, MD, USA

Image Use Policy: http://hubblesite.org/copyright/

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Crab Nebula
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula > Type > Supernova Remnant
Star > Evolutionary Stage > Neutron Star > Pulsar

Distance

Universescale1
6,500 light years
Stsci_2017-21_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 5h 34m 33.1s
DEC = 22° 1’ 24.7”
Orientation
North is 0.2° CCW
Field of View
4.4 x 4.4 arcminutes
Constellation
Taurus

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Red VLA Radio (S-band) 100.0 mm
Yellow Spitzer (MIPS) Infrared (Mid-IR) 24.0 µm
Green Hubble (WFPC2) Optical (SII) 673.0 nm
Blue XMM (Optical-UV Monitor) Ultraviolet (UV) 390.0 nm
Magenta Chandra (ACIS) X-ray (X-ray) 826.7 pm
Spectrum_xray2
Red
Yellow
Green
Blue
Magenta
Stsci_2017-21_1280
×
ID
2017-21
Subject Category
B.4.1.4   B.3.1.9.1  
Subject Name
Crab Nebula
Credits
NASA, ESA, G. Dubner (IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires) et al.; A. Loll et al.; T. Temim et al.; F. Seward et al.; VLA/NRAO/AUI/NSF; Chandra/CXC; Spitzer/JPL-Caltech; XMM-Newton/ESA; and Hubble/STScI
Release Date
2017-05-10
Lightyears
6,500
Redshift
6,500
Reference Url
http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2017-21
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
VLA, Spitzer, Hubble, XMM-Newton, Chandra
Instrument
-, MIPS, WFPC2, Optical-UV Monitor, ACIS
Color Assignment
Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Magenta
Band
Radio, Infrared, Optical, Ultraviolet, X-ray
Bandpass
S-band, Mid-IR, SII, UV, X-ray
Central Wavelength
1e8, 24000, 673, 390, 0.8267
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
83.63793182370, 22.02352142330
Reference Dimension
5290.00, 5290.00
Reference Pixel
4811.93272558996, 508.53793404719
Scale
-0.00001383215, 0.00001383215
Rotation
0.24718511834
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
World Coordinate System resolved using PinpointWCS 0.9.0 revision 213+ by the Chandra X-ray Center
Creator (Curator)
STScI
URL
http://hubblesite.org
Name
Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach
Email
outreach@stsci.edu
Telephone
410-338-4444
Address
3700 San Martin Drive
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
USA
Rights
http://hubblesite.org/copyright/
Publisher
STScI
Publisher ID
stsci
Resource ID
STSCI-H-p1721a-f-5290x5290.tif
Metadata Date
2017-05-08T18:59:21-04:00
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
6,500 light years