The Heart of the Crab

Here’s NASA’s description of this video—

This video starts with a composite image of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant that was assembled by combining data from five telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum: the Very Large Array, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope, the XMM-Newton Observatory, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

The video dissolves to the red-colored radio-light view that shows how a neutron star’s fierce “wind” of charged particles from the central neutron star energized the nebula, causing it to emit the radio waves. The yellow-colored infrared image includes the glow of dust particles absorbing ultraviolet and visible light. The green-colored Hubble visible-light image offers a very sharp view of hot filamentary structures that permeate this nebula. The blue-colored ultraviolet image and the purple-colored X-ray image shows the effect of an energetic cloud of electrons driven by a rapidly rotating neutron star at the center of the nebula.

Video Credit: NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale (STScI)

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)

The Heart of the Crab

Heart of the CrabThis Hubble image peers deep into the core of the Crab Nebula, revealing its beating heart. At its center are the remnants of a supernova which sends out clock-like pulses of radiation and waves of charged particles. The neutron star at the very center of the Crab Nebula has about the same mass as the Sun, but it’s compressed into an incredibly dense sphere that is only a few miles across. Spinning 30 times a second, the neutron star ticks along, shooting out detectable beams of energy.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

A Wide Field View of a Crab

Wide View of the Crab NebulaThe Crab Nebula (aka Messier 1, NGC 1952, and Taurus A) is the remnant of a supernova explosion which was observed by Chinese astronomers in 1054. The tangled filaments visible in this picture are the remains of the exploded star which are still expanding outwards at about 1500 km/s.

Image Credit: ESO

International Crab

International CrabThe Crab nebula is the remnant of a supernova explosion recorded by Chinese astronomers in the year 1054. This is composite view of the Crab nebula was assembled using data from the Herschel Space Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. Herschel is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission with important NASA contributions, and Hubble is a NASA mission with important ESA contributions.

Hubble‘s view of the nebula at visible wavelengths used three different filters sensitive to the emission from oxygen and sulphur ions and is shown here in blue. Herschel’s far-infrared image reveals the emission from dust in the nebula and is shown here in red.

Image Credit: ESA/NASA

The Crab Nebula in UV

Crab_nebula_uv_SwiftAbout 7,500 years ago, a star went supernova. The Crab Nebula is the wreckage of that supernova whose explosion was seen on Earth in the year AD 1054. The expanding cloud of gas is located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. This false color composite of three ultraviolet images taken by the UV Optical Telescope carried on the Swift satellite highlights the hot gas in the supernova remnant. The image is constructed from exposures using these filters centered at 260 nm (red), at 225 nM (green), and centered at 193 nm (blue). (Click the image to embiggen it.)

Image Credit: NASA