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CosmosUp | August 4, 2020

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[Info and Images] The Crab Pulsar And Its Nebula

By | On + -

The Crab Pulsar was born with supernova explosion which was widely observed on Earth in the year 1054. The Crab Nebula is located 6,500-light-years away from us in the direction of Constellation Taurus. Here, in this article, we will present this amazing object, once thought to be the most energetic light in universe.

A brief history of stars When a massive star, with a mass several times that of the Sun, reaches the end of its life, it compresses and explodes as supernova, leaving behind a good-looking corpse, a neutron star. Neutron stars are the smallest and densest stars known to exist in the Universe.

They are only a few miles across, with a large fraction of the star’s original mass, composed almost entirely of neutrons — subatomic particles with no net electrical charge. Neutron star is very hot and spins spectacularly fast on its axis emitting beams of electromagnetic radiation that are detected as pulsar.

The Crab Nebulae After a massive explosion powerful enough to turn a huge star in cloud of dust, the crab nebula took shapes; The eye of the storm, a speeding pulsating star, a pulsar. The gravity squeezed the giant star’s core into an object with 10km diameter, rotating 30 times per second.

Scientists estimate the crab pulsar’ mass to that of 1.5 solar masses, it’s so dense that one pin of this will weigh thousands maybe million of tons. Two beam of lights, energy and radiation, spinning 30 time per second power the huge cloud of dust, the crab nebula.

There’s so much radiations there, more even on the Sun, that’s could easily be considered one of the deadliest things in the universe.

Crab Nebula in Multiple Wavelengths

Crab Nebula in Multiple Wavelengths ©Wikipedia.

The Crab Pulsar

In Jan 2016 MAGIC, a ground-based gamma-ray instrument located on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, discovered unexpected very energetic photons, the most energetic pulsed emission radiation ever detected to date coming from the center of the supernova of 1054 A.D., the Crab pulsar.

We performed deep observation of the Crab pulsar with MAGIC to understand this phenomenon, expecting to measure the maximum energy of the pulsating photons

Roberta Zanin from (ICCUB-IEEC, Barcelona) continues:

The new observations extend this tail to much higher, above TeV energies, that is, several times more energetic than the previous measurement, violating all the theory models believed to be at work in neutron stars.

Crab pulsar Larger and jumbo mosaic

Larger and jumbo mosaic ©Hubble legacy.

Crab Pulsar Field Signature

Crab Pulsar Field Signature ©Youtube.

Crab Nebula (Messier 1)

Crab Nebula (Messier 1) ©Arizona State University.

Pulsar Crab nebula pulsar time lapsed

Pulsar Crab nebula pulsar time lapsed ©imgmob.

Crab Nebula contains the Crab Pulsar

Crab Nebula contains the Crab Pulsar ©EliteD.

Antimatter Positron Jets in Crab Nebula Pulsar

Antimatter Positron Jets in Crab Nebula Pulsar ©electricgalaxy.

This is another very important result achieved by MAGIC on the puzzling celestial object, which incidentally besides the Sun is the most investigated one in all energy ranges,

said Razmik Mirzoyan from the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich.

Hence from the beginning of operation of the MAGIC experiment in 2004, we have been intensively observing the Crab Nebula and the Crab pulsar. And that has really paid-off- in the mean time we revealed significant features of this enigmatic object thus providing substantial input to our theory colleagues- now it is their move to explain how the things are at work. MAGIC has been designed to be the most suitable instrument among imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes to perform this kind of observations.

Crab Nebula

Crab Nebula ©Epic.

Crab Nebula

Crab Nebula ©Epic.

Crab Nebula

Crab Nebula.



  1. appleforaface

    “one pin of this will weigh thousands maybe million of tons”. What? A pint? A pinhead? WTF?

  2. brunnen_g

    I surmise the author of the article refers to a needle.

  3. Ronald Cole

    I wish I could post a gif photo here because I recently created an animated gif (just two images) that shows that the Crab Nebula has expanded significantly since the first images were taken of it. I love it when you can see things that far away move in a time lapse movie.

    • D. Alice

      Hi Ronald,
      You can send your gifs to cosmosup ( and they will post it here (the images on this post type might be 1080 at least).
      D. Alice
      CosmosUp’ editor

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