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BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The Hubble telescope looked at images from the Crab Nebula, which uncovered violent vortexes in the nebula’s core. About 1,000 years ago, a huge star ended its life cycle with a big explosion. Astronomers of the time, who were located in China and Japan recorded the supernova as it gave the second brightest light in the sky, after the moon.
The cataclysmic event occurred inside the constellation of Taurus and then faded to dark, over the course of a few years. However, this death of a star was actually a birth certificate for the Crab Nebula.
Supernovas are violent endings of aging massive stars. These stars break into elements that go on to enrich the universe, leading to new stars and sometimes even providing the building blocks of life. Earth and all life on it is a cocktail of thee basic elements. This is why Carl Sagan once said that “we are all made of star stuff”.
The resulted debris, combined with star materials leaves a memory of the star before, much like a work of art. To the human eye, a nebula looks like a cloud which was frozen in time. Now we know that the cloud is actually Stardust material racing away from each other at supersonic speeds.
The Crab Nebula has a rapidly rotating neutron star at the core. Neutron stars are smaller stars, which remain after the explosion of a bigger star. The neutron star in the center of Crab Nebula is about the same mass as our Sun, but it is very compressed in a sphere, which measures only a few miles.
Hubble created the new image of Crab Nebula by combining three high-res photos taken over a period of 30 years, each having a different color. The colors displayed are produced by the spinning motion of the neutron star, at a rate of 30 times per second. This makes all surrounding material to move rapidly, creating a beautiful rainbow of colors.
There is also a blue glow surrounding the star, produced by the electrons spiraling close to light speed inside the magnetic field of the nebula. The Hubble Telescope was launched into orbit in the 90’s. It was the brainchild of NASA and the European Space Agency.
Image Source – Wikipedia