Crab Nebula in Taurus - outer space picture Wristwatches
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series: A great outer space picture featuring a three colour composite of the well-known Crab Nebula (also known as Messier 1), as observed with the FORS2 instrument in imaging mode in the morning of November 10, 1999.
It's the remnant of a supernova explosion at a distance of about 6,000 light-years, observed almost 1,000 years ago, in the year 1054. It contains a neutron star near its centre that spins 30 times per second around its axis (see below).
In this picture, the green light is predominantly produced by hydrogen emission from material ejected by the star that exploded. The blue light is predominantly emitted by very high-energy ("relativistic") electrons that spiral in a large-scale magnetic field. It's believed that these electrons are continuously accelerated and ejected by the rapidly spinning neutron star at the centre of the nebula and which is the remnant core of the exploded star.
image code: crbneb
Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.