The Crab Nebula, M1

Supernova Remnant Taurus A

Apparent magnitude: +8.4
Apparent dimensions: 6 x 4 arc-minutes
Constellation: Taurus
Image exposure:
75 minutes
Image field of view:
19.4 x 19.5 arcmin
Image date:

This is what a supernova explosion looks like after nearly a thousand years have passed!

In the year 1054 CE, Chinese astronomers, noticed a bright “new” star, which after a few months faded from view and was lost for nearly 700 years until the resulting nebula was discovered in 1731.

We now know that the phenomena they witnessed was a supernova event that occurred about 6,400 light years away and which modern astronomers have since designated as SN 1054.


The progenitor star, about ten times more massive than the Sun, exhausted its nuclear fuel, leading to a nuclear catastrophe: a gigantic instantaneous implosion followed by a rebounding explosion and the near total destruction of the star.

In its place remains an active neutron star, now called The Crab Pulsar (PSR B0531+21), which is condensed to about 30 kilometres in diameter; spins at thirty times per second; and emits pulses of energetic radiation across the spectrum from radio to gamma rays.

Surrounding the pulsar is a cloud of gas debris (see above image) made up of of ionised helium and hydrogen, along with carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, iron, neon and sulphur. With a current diameter of eleven light years, the nebula is expanding at 0.5% of light speed.

A supernova is one of the most powerful explosions in the universe. It’s so luminous, it can be seen across billions of light years. It releases as much energy in an instant as our sun will produce over its 10-billion-year lifetime.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Cosmic Focus Observatory

34° South

Above us only sky….


Telescope:Meade LX-90 200mm Schmidt-Cassegrain ;
2000 mm f/l @ f/10 (deforked).
Optics:Astronomik light pollution filter.
Mount & Guiding:SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount.
Imaging camera:ZWO ASI 071 MC cooled.

Images © Roger Powell


Leave a comment or ask a question . . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s