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A Giant Hubble Mosaic of the Crab Nebula
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Name: Crab Nebula, NGC 1952
Description: Supernova Remnant
Position (J2000)
: R.A. 05h 34m 32s  Dec. 22° 00' 52"
Constellation: Taurus
Distance: 6500 light-years (2.0 kpc).
The image is 6 arcminutes along the bottom
     (12 light-years or 3.7 pc).
Instrument: WFPC2
Exposure Date(s): October 1999, January 2000, and December 2000
F502N ([O III]), F631N ([O I]), F673N ([S II])
Image Credit: NASA, ESA and J. Hester (Arizona State University)
Release Date: December 1, 2005

Other images:  S9948eo  S0504sp  S0537a  S0537b  S0909sp
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This is a mosaic image, one of the largest ever taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of the Crab Nebula, a
six-light-year-wide expanding remnant of a star's supernova explosion. Japanese and Chinese astronomers recorded
this violent event nearly 1,000 years ago in 1054, as did, almost certainly, Native Americans.

The orange filaments are the tattered remains of the star and consist mostly of hydrogen. The rapidly spinning neutron
star embedded in the center of the nebula is the dynamo powering the nebula's eerie interior bluish glow. The blue light
comes from electrons whirling at nearly the speed of light around magnetic field lines from the neutron star. The neutron
star, like a lighthouse, ejects twin beams of radiation that appear to pulse 30 times a second due to the neutron star's
rotation. A neutron star is the crushed ultra-dense core of the exploded star.

The Crab Nebula derived its name from its appearance in a drawing made by Irish astronomer Lord Rosse in 1844,
using a 36-inch telescope. When viewed by Hubble, as well as by large ground-based telescopes such as the
European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, the Crab Nebula takes on a more detailed appearance that
yields clues into the spectacular demise of a star, 6,500 light-years away.

The newly composed image was assembled from 24 individual Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 exposures taken in
October 1999, January 2000, and December 2000. The colors in the image indicate the different elements that were
expelled during the explosion. Blue in the filaments in the outer part of the nebula represents neutral oxygen, green is
singly-ionized sulfur, and red indicates doubly-ionized oxygen.