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Hubble Heritage Archive: Crab Nebula, M1

8 Oct 2020, 12:00 UTC
Hubble Heritage Archive: Crab Nebula, M1
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The text and images in this article were originally published on July 7, 2016, and reflect information about M1 available at that time.

Hubble Captures the Beating Heart of the Crab Nebula

Peering deep into the core of the Crab Nebula, this close-up image reveals the beating heart of one of the most historic and intensively studied remnants of a supernova, an exploding star. The inner region sends out clock-like pulses of radiation and tsunamis of charged particles embedded in magnetic fields.

The neutron star at the very center of the Crab Nebula has about the same mass as the Sun but compressed into an incredibly dense sphere that is only a few miles across. Spinning 30 times a second, the neutron star shoots out detectable beams of energy that make it look like it’s pulsating.

The NASA Hubble Space Telescope snapshot is centered on the region around the neutron star (the rightmost of the two bright stars near the center of this image) and the expanding, tattered, filamentary debris surrounding it. Hubble’s sharp view captures the intricate details of glowing gas, shown in red, that forms a swirling medley of cavities and filaments. Inside this shell is a ghostly ...

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