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Crab Nebula, composite image

Crab Nebula, composite image


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50.1 MB (2.6 MB compressed)

5194 x 3374 pixels

43.9 x 28.4 cm ⏐ 17.3 x 11.2 in (300dpi)

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Crab Nebula, composite image. Combined X-ray (blue and white), optical (purple) and infrared (pink) image of the Crab Nebula (M1, NGC 1952), a supernova remnant that is 12 light years across and around 6500 light years distant in the constellation of Taurus. At its centre is a quickly spinning, highly magnetized neutron star called a pulsar (bright spot, centre), which was formed when a massive star ran out of its nuclear fuel and collapsed. The combination of rapid rotation and a strong magnetic field generates an intense electromagnetic field that creates jets of matter and anti-matter moving away from the poles of the pulsar, and an intense wind flowing out in the equatorial direction. The X-ray data is from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO). The optical data is from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The infrared data is from the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST). Image published in 2017.

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