NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Enhanced-colour optical photo of the Crab Nebula (M1, NGC 1952), a supernova remnant about 6000 light years away in the constellation of Taurus. The nebula is the remnant of a catastrophic stellar explosion which was observed by Chinese and Japanese astronomers in 1054 AD. At its centre is the Crab pulsar, a rapidly spinning neutron star which is the tiny, dense remnant of the star which exploded. The pulsar has a radius of only 10 km and rotates 30 times each second. The colour image was reconstructed from exposures made through separate red, visual and blue filters.
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