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The Crab Nebula As Never Before Seen

03/27/2018 08:13AM

The Crab Nebula As Never Before Seen

There are many reasons that the Crab Nebula is such a well-studied object. It is one of a handful of cases where there is strong historical evidence for when the star exploded (1054 AD). Having this definitive timeline helps astronomers understand the details of the explosion and its aftermath. The latest image of the Crab Nebula is a composite that was taken with Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer. At the center it shows a quickly spinning, highly magnetized neutron star called a pulsar. 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 both the north and south poles of the pulsar, and an intense wind flowing out in the equatorial direction.


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