National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Supernova Remnant Crab Nebula (M1) Floating in Empty Space


Supernova Remnant Crab Nebula (M1) Floating in Empty Space

In 2005, I was observing a high red-shift hydrogen Lyman-alpha emitter with a narrow bandpass filters using the Subaru Telescope. At that instant, it occurred to me that sometimes we can observe the oxygen emission line with the same filter, so I tried taking short term integration images. This is that old photo that I took.

After that, I compared this with the CCD images taken at Kitt Peak National Observatory in 1988, and calculated the expanding speed of the Crab Nebula from the “jet” structure. From this image, I got the feeling that the nebula was continuing to expand from the explosion. Estimating the timing of the Crab Nebula explosion yielded a result of 1055 A.D. give or take 24 years. This is much closer to the 1054 A.D. date recorded in China, than the previous estimate (1100 A.D.). In fact, this result was also published in a paper. (Rudie, Fesen, Yamada 2008 MNRAS, 384, 1200)

It has been 10 years since I took this image. The Crab Nebula has probably expanded even more. The Kitt Peak National Observatory image mentioned above was only the “jet” part, so I hope somebody will take another full image of the Crab Nebula with the same filters before Suprime-Cam gets decommissioned. We should be able to see the entire nebula expanding.

Text by: Toru Yamada (JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science)
Translation by: Hiroko Tsuzuki and Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)

Image Data

ObjectCrab Nebula (M1)
TelescopeThe Subaru Telescope
WavelengthV band (550 nanometers: green), NB497 narrowband (497.7 nanometers, FWHM 7.7 nanometers: red), and B band (450 nanometers: blue) false color image
Exposure2.5 minutes (V), 15 minutes (NB497), and 2.5 minutes (B)
DateOctober 4-6, 2005 (UT)
CreditNational Astronomical Observatory of Japan


Related Links