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HST image of the centre of the Crab Nebula

HST image of the centre of the Crab Nebula

R760/0050

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Credit

NASA / ESA / STSCI / J.HESTER & P.SCOWEN, ASU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / STSCI / J.HESTER & P.SCOWEN, ASU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Crab Nebula. Coloured visible light image of the core of the Crab Nebula, made using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). At the centre of the nebula is a pulsar (lower star of the pair just upper left of centre), the remnant of a supernova which was observed in 1054 AD. The pulsar has intense, rotating magnetic and gravitational fields which fling subatomic particles away from the centre at half the speed of light. These particles collide with the gas of the nebula, causing the ripple- like bands at centre. By comparing observations made by the HST, astronomers have monitored unexpected large-scale changes in these ripples.

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