Messier 1, The Crab Nebula

Messier 1, The Crab Nebula. NASA, Hubble Space Telescope
Messier 1, The Crab Nebula: The Crab is actually a supernova remnant from a supernova about 1,000 years ago. In 1054, various ancient peoples reported a new star in Taurus the bull that was so bright it could be seen during the day for a few weeks and remained bright at night for several months. Eventually this “star” faded away. Many years later (1731) a supernova remnant was found that matched the exact date and location as the bright star reported by the ancient peoples. At 6,523 light years away, the Crab Nebula is continually expanding. In its heart a very fast spinning star called a pulsar is putting out large amounts of radiation which causes the gas to glow. This very star is the one that was responsible for the 1054 supernova. To find the remnant of this supernova it will first be helpful to get to dark skies. Then find the red star Aldebaran and look North of it until you find the next brightest star. Then look about 1 degree west of this star and you will run into the Crab Nebula. This object can be seen in small telescopes but will require at least a 5-6 inch aperture to start seeing details. When you view this remnant keep in mind that you are viewing the remains of something that may have caused your ancient ancestors much wonder!

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