New X-ray Photo Shows Famous Crab Nebula Like Never Before

This image of the Crab Nebula combines data from NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) in magenta and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in dark purple. (Image credit: X-ray (IXPE: NASA), (Chandra: NASA/CXC/SAO) Image processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/K. Arcand & L. Frattare)

Scientists have mapped the iconic Crab Nebula’s magnetic field in greater detail than ever before using NASA’s latest X-ray telescope.

Located 6,500 light-years from Earth, the Crab Nebula is the remnant of a massive stellar explosion, or supernova, which occurred in the year 1054 and left behind a dense object called Crab Pulsar with a mass about twice that of Earth’s sun. This nebula is one of the most studied cosmic objects, but new observations suggest that it is far more complex than scientists thought.

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