4 Cool Facts About the Crab Nebula

4 Cool Facts About the Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula was created from a supernova explosion which was witnessed in 1054, one of the largest of history. At that time it was the brightest object in the night sky even more than Venus and was visible even in the daytime for almost 23 days.

As a result, Crab Pulsar which is only the size of a small city, was the first neutron star to be termed as an optically astronomical visible object. Due to its brightness, Scientist and Astronomers were able to study and identify it more easily and over a period of unprecedented time.

So brace yourself, let’s check out 4 Cool Facts About the Crab Nebula and what makes it distinct from other nebulae in the night’s sky.

Crab Nebula Fact #4: 27,000 F in Temperature

The filaments of Crab Nebula are made up from carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, iron, neon, sulfur and ionized helium and hydrogen.

They are the remnants of its progenitor star’s atmosphere where the typical temperature is between 11,000 and 18,000K (Kelvin). On average it’s 15,000 Celsius and their densities are about 1,300 particles per cm3.

Crab Nebula Fact #3: Nebulae Enrich the Universe with Heavy Elements

Crab Nebula came into existence due to Supernova explosions which enrich the universe with heavy elements, elements which are vital in the process of planetary and solar system formations.

It’s fascinating that the Crab Nebula which is 6,500 years light away from the Earth created in formation of heavy elements. These elements can even be found in our bodies and present in our solar vicinity.




This supernovae, like the Crab Nebula, have played a critical part in the chemical evolution of the Universe. From the oxygen in our atmosphere to iron in our blood; life wouldn’t be the same without these heavy elements.

Lastly, the Crab Nebula also created interstellar mediums. In this case, shock waves are produced which heat up the temperature in these mediums and eventually compresses. As a result, these shock waves are important in star formation and later when they collapse and form large clouds of gas; nebulae. It’s a cyclical formation which give birth, death, then rebirth; renaissance.

Crab Nebula Fact #2: The Crab Nebula Emits Gamma Rays

Scientific models have proven that the Crab Pulsar has emitted some of the highest energy gamma rays ever observed from a pulsar. Pretty amazing if you consider how many have been identified.

The Crab Pulsar spins at an extremely rapid pace and completes one revolution every 33 milliseconds by emitting gamma rays through curvature radiation.



See reference below *


As a result, the energy produced from this pulsar is 50 billion times more visible light as compared to our Solar System’s star (the Sun); Sol.

This rapid spin creates a highly magnetized object which can generate up to 10 quadrillion volts of electricity. Shocking!

This radiation can affect the geological processes even as far away as here on Earth. Lastly, this radiation helped in a detailed study of celestial bodies just like the Crab Nebula.

Crab Nebula Fact #1: The Crab Nebula Shines Brighter than 75,000 Suns

High speed electrons accelerate and decelerate in the Crab Nebula’s magnetic field, which results in the emission of high levels of radiation. This is very similar to the process in a cyclotron, where there is a similar creation of high energy electrons.

When the Crab Nebula Pulsar slows down, energy is released which makes it brighter than our Solar System’s Sun, Sol. As a result, the Crab Pulsar can generate enough power such that the nebula can shine brighter than 75,000 suns.

Likewise, this energy would be enough to make the Crab Nebula radiation visible throughout nearly the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

The magnetic field of Crab Nebula has four magnetic poles rather than two, which makes it even cooler. Additionally, these two extra set of poles are said to be frozen in the neutron star.

*By Based on File:Crab Nebula in multiwavelength.png by Torres997Radio: NRAO/AUI and M. Bietenholz; NRAO/AUI and J.M. Uson, T.J. CornwellInfrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Gehrz (University of Minnesota)Visible: NASA, ESA, J. Hester and A. Loll (Arizona State University)Ultraviolet: NASA/Swift/E. Hoversten, PSUX-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward et al.Gamma: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT/R. Buehler – Radio: √; https://goo.gl/7QVJJO (Very Large Array, {{NRAO}}: CC-by-3.0)Infrared: https://goo.gl/6QOQJc (Spitzer, {{PD-USGov-NASA}}: Public domain)Visible: https://goo.gl/BSbQgi (Hubble, {{PD-Hubble}}: Public domain)Ultraviolet: https://goo.gl/EtsDLq (Swift, {{PD-USGov-NASA}}: Public domain)X-ray: https://goo.gl/5bIUqV(Chandra, {{PD-USGov-NASA}}: Public domain)Gamma: https://goo.gl/IXoHsK (Fermi, {{PD-USGov-NASA}}: Public domain), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://goo.gl/7bTZVo

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  1. yvonne manivel

    Woah this is absolutly facinating! I love reading about Astronomy and your articles are so interesting! Just like all the photos… Actually, I love all the nebulae and it’s very frustrating to say which is my favourite one?????? But, as we always have one favourite (in any kind of matter), I would say the Crab Nebula is my super-favourite one!!!!!!! So interesting and so beautiful…
    Thanks for your posts n for all these photos, you’re doing a great job!!!!!

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