Dissecting the Crab Nebula

In the year 1054 A.D., 12 years before the Battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest of England, a very bright explosion in the constellation of Taurus lit up the skies. In the Dark Ages, this was probably seen as an omen or some kind of supernatural occurrence, but astronomers were in fact treated to a very rare event: a supernova in our cosmic neighborhood, only 6,000 light-years away.

Image credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward; Optical: NASA/ESA/ASU/J.Hester & A.Loll; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. Minn./R.Gehrz.

~ by sternbo on December 3, 2009.

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