Russell Croman Astrophotography  



The Crab Nebula

About This Photograph

This is the fabulous Crab Nebula in the constellation Taurus (the Bull). What we see here are the remains of a star that went supernova (exploded violently). In 1050 A.D., Chinese astronomers noted a "guest star" in the skies in precisely this position. When stars go supernova, they can temporarily produce more light than the entire galaxy in which they are contained, and this star was no exception; for weeks it was visible in broad daylight.

What remains now are glowing tendrils of hydrogen gas that seem woven among a ghostly bluish glow. At the center of this cloud is the fading ember of the original star, an intriguing object with roughly the mass of our sun, but compressed to the size of a city: a neutron star. Highly magnetized, and spinning at a fantastic rate of 33 times per second, it sends out powerful radio pulses that can be picked up here on Earth. It is this same spinning motion that provides the energy that lights up the Crab Nebula.


Related Photographs

Multispectral Crab Nebula

Technical Details

Optics:14" f/10 RCOS Ritchey-Chrétien Cassegrain,Astro-Physics 0.75x Focal Reducer
Camera:SBIG ST-10XME, CFW8
Mount:Takahashi NJP Temma 2
Filters:SBIG Standard RGB
Dates/Times:30-31 January 2003
Location:my backyard observatory in Austin, Texas
Exposure Details:LRGB = 65:25:25:30 (5-minute sub-exposures, all unbinned)
Processing:MaxImDL (combine), CCDSharp (two iterations), Photoshop (levels, curves, etc.).


Publication Data for this Photograph

Date Publication Type
2005-01-00 Sky & Telescope,
p. 8
2004-01-00 Sky & Telescope,
p. 144
Web Site
2003-05-03 The Texas Star Party (2003),
Best CCD Photograph
2007-02-00 Coelum Astronomia (Italian Astronomy Magazine),
p. 67