The Crab Nebula – Astro Picture of the Day
The Crab Nebula-(also known as Messier-1 or M1)
The Crab Nebula is the left over structure from a Supernova explosion. So it is also known as a Supernova Remnant. A Supernova occurs when a big star (about 10 times the size of our Sun) dies by a violent explosion radiating energy as much as the Sun is expected to emit over its entire life span. A Supernova also leaves behind a neutron star which spins and emits pulses of radiation ranging from radio waves to gamma rays. This is known as a pulsar.
Chinese astronomers in 1054 were wondering about this bright star in the sky which was visible even during the day and lasted for over a month in the constellation of Taurus. Later is 1731 John Bevis an English Astronomer had observed and identified it. It is located about 6500 light years from the Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 8.4. In the centre of the nebula lies the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star 28–30 km across with a spin rate of 30.2 times per second, which emits radiation.
During the Astronomy Camp last winter many of you had seen the faint whitish clouds of this Supernova remnant through our 12″ telescope. However, this winter we are planning to image it with our new CCD Astro-Camera so that we can see the colours of this object which are not visible to the eye.,