From the November 2006 issue

Inside the Crab Nebula

Scientists watch this fascinating object change over time.
By | Published: November 22, 2006 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Crab Nebula
Located about 6,500 light-years from Earth, the Crab Nebula is the remnant of a star that began its life with about 10 times the mass of our sun. Such massive stars consume nuclear fuel so rapidly that they live only 50 million years before exploding as a supernova. For the Crab star, the end came on July 4, 1054.
Astronomers constructed this movie from eight Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) images. The movie below contains four sequences:

    1) The full WFPC2 field of view
    2) A closer view of the pulsar at the Crab Nebula’s heart
    3) An even closer view detailing the bright “sprite” that appears toward the top of the image
    4) An extreme close-up of the pulsar and the inner knot of superheated material just above it
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