Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Crab nebula in different band

 1000 years ago, a gigantic explosion lit up the Earth's sky.

 It was in the constellation of Taurus a star that the Chinese described about six times more luminous than Venus and about as bright as the full moon.  The remains of this star were named after the Crab Nebula, a nebulous mass, resplendent of gas and dust 7000 light years from Earth.

 Its remnant, the collapsed nucleus of the giant star, is a neutron star, stars that rotate around its axis every ten seconds and have very strong magnetic fields due to the powerful electrical currents within them.  As their name suggests, neutron stars are entirely composed of neutrons.  They are some of the densest objects in the known universe (a tablespoon of an average neutron star would have a mass of more than 100 million tons).  Despite being so fascinating and exotic, these objects have family members who are even more incredible.

 Image: multiple wavelengths of the Crab Nebula, with the different physical processes that manifest in different spectral regions.

 Credit: NASA / CXC / SAO.

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