Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Swirling Core of the Crab Nebula
Posted on 07/07/2016 10:04:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: At the core of the Crab Nebula lies a city-sized, magnetized neutron star spinning 30 times a second. Known as the Crab Pulsar, it's actually the rightmost of two bright stars, just below a central swirl in this stunning Hubble snapshot of the nebula's core. Some three light-years across, the spectacular picture frames the glowing gas, cavities and swirling filaments bathed in an eerie blue light. The blue glow is visible radiation given off by electrons spiraling in a strong magnetic field at nearly the speed of light. Like a cosmic dynamo the pulsar powers the emission from the nebula, driving a shock wave through surrounding material and accelerating the spiraling electrons. With more mass than the Sun and the density of an atomic nucleus, the spinning pulsar is the collapsed core of a massive star that exploded. The Crab Nebula is the expanding remnant of the star's outer layers. The supernova explosion was witnessed on planet Earth in the year 1054.
(Excerpt) Read more at 188.8.131.52 ...
[Credit: NASA, ESA; Acknowledgment: J. Hester (ASU), M. Weisskopf (NASA / GSFC)]
I've seen dozens of views of the Crab nebula -- but this is the first I recall showing the visible shockwaves.
:') That was such a close-up, it triggered my shellfish allergy! ;')
It actually looks like the head of an angry ostrich (eye at right, beak at left).
But it is pretty far away, so, you have to squint... I guess:
Those 3-D paintings are fascinating. Hey, where’s my shirt?
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