NASA Missions Study the Crab Nebula

The image is dominated by the X-ray emission from the Crab nebula, shown in shades of blue and white. At the center is a bright ball surrounded by an oval of light whose long axis is tilted just to the left. Rising up and to the right from that oval is a cloud of material that looks like a witch’s hat with a broad brim and dented point. From the central ball there is also a bent stream of material to the left and downward. The optical light, in purple, appears as a background to the blue and white as a wispy cloud. The infrared emission, shown in pink, surrounds the blue and white light, looking like a diffuse web.
X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA-JPL-Caltech
CreditX-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA-JPL-Caltech
Historical DateMarch 14, 2018
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This composite image of the Crab Nebula uses data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue and white), Hubble Space Telescope (purple), and Spitzer Space Telescope (pink). The star that exploded to create the Crab Nebula was reportedly first seen from Earth in 1054 A.D. Since its launch in 1999, Chandra has frequently observed the Crab. X-ray observations have helped astronomers better understand this spectacular object.