Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day 9-20-02
Posted on 09/19/2002 9:32:57 PM PDT by petuniasevan
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2002 September 20
Explanation: How does a city-sized neutron star power the vast Crab Nebula? The expulsion of wisps of hot gas at high speeds appears to be at least part of the answer. Yesterday time-lapse movies taken from both the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope were released showing a wisp of gas moving out at about half the speed of light. Wisps like this likely result from tremendous electric voltages created by the central pulsar, a rapidly rotating, magnetized, central neutron star. The hot plasma strikes existing gas, causing it glow in colors across the electromagnetic spectrum. Pictured above is a composite image of the center of the Crab Nebula where red represents radio emission, green represents visible emission, and blue represents X-ray emission. The dot at the very center is the hot pulsar spinning 30 times per second.
The Crab Nebula is located in the constellation Taurus and is about 6000 light-years distant.
I highly recommend clicking on the link above for the time-lapse movies!
|Fast Facts for Crab Nebula Movie:|
|Credit||NASA/CXC/ASU/J.Hester et al.|
|Scale||Close up image is 0.8 arcmin, other 7 images are 1.6 arcmin.|
|Coordinates (J2000)||RA 05h 34m 32s | Dec +22º 0.0' 52"|
|Observation Date||November 25 & December 18, 2000, January 9 & 30, 2001, February 21, March 15 & April 6, 2001|
|Observation Time||45.9 hours total|
|Distance||6000 light years from Earth|