Crab Nebula

Crab Nebula
(Image and Text Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO)

The explosion was seen on Earth in 1054 AD. At the center of the nebula is a rapidly spinning neutron star, or pulsar that emits pulses of radiation 30 times a second. The image shows the central pulsar surrounded by tilted rings of high-energy particles that appear to have been flung outward over a distance of more than a light year from the pulsar. Perpendicular to the rings, jet-like structures produced by high-energy particles blast away from the pulsar. The diameter of the inner ring in the image is about a tenth of a light year, more than 200 times the diameter of our solar system. The X rays from the Crab nebula are produced by high-energy particles spiraling around magnetic field lines in the Nebula. The bell-shaped appearance of the Nebula could be due to the interaction of this huge magnetized bubble with clouds of gas and dust in the vicinity. Chandra X-ray Observatory

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Last modified: Thursday, 26-Jun-2003 13:48:44 EDT