Friday, July 4, 2008

Celestial Fireworks

Perhaps the biggest 4th of July fireworks display ever was that of the supernova explosion which created the Crab Nebula. The "guest star" was first observed by Chinese astronomers on July 4, 1054 and was bright enough to be seen in the daytime sky for 23 days!

The nebula created by the event was made the first object in the famous Messier Catalog in 1758. The near-infrared image above was taken with the Hale Telescope. Compare it with an older, visible light image of the Crab also taken with the Hale.

No comments: