M1: The Crab Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright:
Michael Sherick

Explanation: The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first object on Charles Messier’s famous 18th century list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, debris from the death explosion of a massive star, witnessed by astronomers in the year 1054. This sharp, ground-based telescopic view combines broadband color data with narrowband data that tracks emission from ionized sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms to explore the tangled filaments within the still expanding cloud. One of the most exotic objects known to modern astronomers, the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star spinning 30 times a second, is visible as a bright spot near the nebula’s center. Like a cosmic dynamo, this collapsed remnant of the stellar core powers the Crab’s emission across the electromagnetic spectrum. Spanning about 12 light-years, the Crab Nebula is a mere 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus.

Tomorrow’s picture: A Christmas Comet

Michael Sherick

说明: 编号为M1的蟹状星云,是梅西耶在18世纪编录的著名“非彗星”星表里的第一号天体。如今的我们当然知道蟹状星云是个超新星遗迹,为大质量恒星死亡爆炸所留下来的碎片云,而(北宋的)天文学家于西元1054年有第一手的观测记录。这幅清晰的地面望远镜影像,整合了源自电离硫、氢、和氧原子的窄和宽波段彩色辐射 资讯,以探索这团仍然不停扩张的星云内之纠结云气丝。身为现代天文学家所知最奇特的天体之一的蟹状星云波霎,是影像中心附近的亮斑,为一颗每秒自转30次的中子星。这个恒星核心的崩塌孑遗,行为像一部宇宙级的发电机,驱动蟹状星云发出横跨所有电磁波段的辐射。跨幅约有12光年的蟹状星云,位在金牛座方向6,500光年远之处。

明日的图片: A Christmas Comet