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Crab Nebula: Visualize an exploded star

14 Jan 2020, 12:12 UTC
Crab Nebula: Visualize an exploded star
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NASA released the video above on January 5, 2020, saying it was created by astronomers and visualization specialists from its Universe of Learning program. These experts combined visible, infrared and X-ray vision of the famous Crab Nebula, the remains of a star that exploded into view in Earth’s sky in the year 1054. The video shows images from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. It shows the pulsar at the heart of the Crab Nebula – the rapidly spinning, super-dense crushed core of the exploded star – which sends high-energy jets in either direction into the nebula, and which serve as what NASA calls the powerhouse “engine” of the entire system. In a statement, NASA said:
The tiny dynamo [the pulsar] is blasting out blistering pulses of radiation 30 times a second with unbelievable clockwork precision.
The visualization was produced by a team at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland; the Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California; and the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It debuted earlier this month at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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