M1, the Crab Nebula, Taurus

Recorded by the Chinese as a "guest star" on July 4th 1054, and the first entry in 1758 in Charles Messier's Catalogue of comet-like objects, it is the expanding remnant of a massive star that exploded in a type II, or core collapse, supernova.  Clearly visible in the image is the remnant pulsar - it is the fainter (upper) member of the double star in the centre - a neutron star approximately 10km in diameter that rotates 30 times every second. The red emission filaments of ionised hydrogen, helium and some other elements are suggestive of extreme turbulence whilst the smoother background light, strongly polarised and continuous, is caused by acceleration of electrons in the intense magnetic fields. Distance is approximately 6,000 ly.

 

Camera: SBIG STL11000M, Astrodon filters Scope: Takahashi TOA-130, f=1000mm, f7.7 (fov ~0.5x0.3)
Mount: Takahashi EM-200 Temma2 Guiding: external (E-finder)
Filters/Exposure: L:R:G:B = 180:95:85:95min7h35m Location: VicSouth Star Parties, Little Desert, Victoria
Dates: November 2013, October 2014 Processing: CCDStack2, RegiStar and Photoshop CS5