An Expanding Crab

crap-nebula-wavesThis series of images of the Crab Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope reveal wave-like structures like ripples in a pond expanding outward from the “heart” of an exploded star. The beating heart of the nebula is the crushed core of the exploded star, a supernova. The remnant neutron star has about the same mass as the sun but is squeezed into an ultra-dense sphere that is only a few miles across. It’s a tremendous dynamo, spinning 30 times a second. The rapidly spinning neutron star is visible in the image as the bright object just below the center of the image. The bright object to the left of the neutron star is a foreground or background star.

Image Credits: NASA and ESA
Acknowledgment: J. Hester (Arizona State University)

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