Nav: Home

Image release: Telescopes team up for dramatic new look at the crab nebula

May 10, 2017

Astronomers produced this dramatic new, highly-detailed image of the Crab Nebula by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum, from the long waves seen by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to the extremely short waves seen by the orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

The Crab Nebula, the result of a bright supernova explosion seen by Chinese and other astronomers in the year 1054, is some 6,500 light-years from Earth. At its center is a superdense neutron star, rotating once every 33 milliseconds, shooting out rotating lighthouse-like beams of radio waves and light -- a pulsar. The nebula's intricate shape is caused by a complex interplay of the pulsar, a fast-moving wind of particles coming from the pulsar, and material originally ejected by the supernova explosion and by the star itself before the explosion.

This image combines data from five different telescopes: The VLA (radio) in red; Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) in yellow; Hubble Space Telescope (visible) in green; XMM-Newton (ultraviolet) in blue; and Chandra X-Ray Observatory (X-ray) in purple.

The new VLA, Hubble, and Chandra observations all were made at nearly the same time in November of 2012. A team of scientists led by Gloria Dubner of IAFE, the National Council of Scientific Research (CONICET), and the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina then made a detailed analysis of the newly-revealed details in a quest to gain new insights into the complex physics of the object. They are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal.

New details from the study show interactions between fast-moving particles and magnetic fields similar to structures seen on the Sun, other features seen to appear at multiple wavelengths, and structures that may indicate features near the star before it exploded. Two separate jets of material from near the pulsar appear in the X-ray and the radio images.

"Comparing these new images, made at different wavelengths, is providing us with a wealth of new detail about the Crab Nebula. Though the Crab has been studied extensively for years, we still have much to learn about it," Dubner said.
-end-
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

CREDIT: G. Dubner (IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires) et al.; NRAO/AUI/NSF; A. Loll et al.; T. Temim et al.; F. Seward et al.; Chandra/CXC; Spitzer/JPL-Caltech; XMM-Newton/ESA; and Hubble/STScI

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Related Supernova Articles:

The big star that couldn't become a supernova
For the first time in history, astronomers have been able to watch as a dying star was reborn as a black hole.
Seeing quadruple: Four images of the same supernova, a rare find
Galaxies bend light through an effect called gravitational lensing that helps astronomers peer deeper into the cosmos.
Explosive material: The making of a supernova
Pre-supernova stars may show signs of instability for months before the big explosion
Search for stellar survivor of a supernova explosion
Astronomers have used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to observe the remnant of a supernova explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Wispy remains of supernova explosion hide possible 'survivor'
This image, taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows the supernova remnant SNR 0509-68.7, also known as N103B.
The dawn of a new era for Supernova 1987a
Three decades ago, astronomers spotted one of the brightest exploding stars in more than 400 years.
The supernova that wasn't: A tale of 3 cosmic eruptions
Long-term observations with the Hubble Space Telescope revealed that Eta Carinae, a very massive star system that has puzzled astronomers since it erupted in a supernova-like event in the mid 19th century, has a past that's much more violent than they thought.
Blue is an indicator of first star's supernova explosions
An international collaboration led by the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe have discovered that the color of supernovae during a specific phase could be an indicator for detecting the most distant and oldest supernovae in the Universe -- more than 13 billion years old.
Nearby supernova ashes continue to rain on Earth
Traces of 60Fe detected in space indicate that a nearby supernova occurred within the last few million years.
Supernova iron found on the moon
Approximately two million years ago a star exploded in a supernova close to our solar system: Its traces can still be found today in the form of an iron isotope found on the ocean floor.

Related Supernova Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...