2011 03 03, M1/NGC 1952

2011 March 03, 0113UT

M1, NGC 1952 (Crab Nebula)
Nebula (SN 1054 Supernova remnant) in the constellation Taurus, 5h 34.5m, +22°01`, m8v, 6`x4`, distance 6300 light years, diameter >7 light years, formed in 1054 A.D

PCW Memorial Observatory, Ohio, USA – Erika Rix
16” Zhumell, 13mm Ethos
34°F, 54% H, 7.5 NE winds, clear, Pickering 7, T 3/6, 138x

Sketch created scopeside with white photocopy paper, #2 pencil, ultra-fine black marker, 0.5mm mechanical pencil. Template from http://www.perezmedia.com.

Messier created the Messier Catalogue when he first observed this object while observing a bright comet in 1758. John Bevis recorded it 1731. It was originally recorded in July 1054 A.D. after the progenitor explosion took place (most likely in April or May). The Earl of Rosse dubbed it the Crab Nebula in the 1840’s when he observed it at Birr Castle, Ireland.

While reading my copy of The Night Sky Observer’s Guide, Vol. 1, by GR Kepple and GW Sanner, pulsar NP0532 (Crab Pulsar) was detected in the center of M1 in 1968. This pulsar is said to be the collapsed core of the progenitor star and is a 16th magnitude rotating neutron star. It pulses radiation every 0.033 seconds. Depending on the source, this supernova remnant gas is expanding 600-1000 miles per second. Per an article from P Haensel and M Bejger regarding the rate of expansion, “dependence of the acceleration is connected to the evolution of pulsar luminosity.” (Bejger, M.; Haensel, P. (2003). “Accelerated expansion of the Crab Nebula and evaluation of its neutron-star parameters”. Astronomy and Astrophysics 405: 747–751.)

Comparison Image of M1 by Paul Rix, 2010, taken with DSI Pro II

Visually, an OIII filter brought out a little more definition in hints of structure, but my best view overall was without it. There were so many stars that I ended the sketching session without adding them all. The telescope was at such an angle that I either had to bend my knees slightly on the higher step next to my scope or stand on the tips of my toes on the lower step. Neither was very comfortable for a prolonged session of star placements. With such an abundance of stars, it was very difficult for me to find my place again to locate new stars after each addition to the sketch.

The SE end of the nebula was faint compared to the NW area. Although there were brighter areas within the NW region, I couldn’t make out filamentary structure. The edges around the entire nebula were diffuse and it was difficult to tell exactly where the edges began. There was a hint of a notch to the SSE with averted vision.

A satellite crossed just below this region at the beginning of the session, and then at 0052 UT, a meteor zoomed across the field of view just grazing the apparent SW edge of M1.

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~ by Erika Rix on March 7, 2011.

2 Responses to “2011 03 03, M1/NGC 1952”

  1. […] The ejected matter (that is left over after a supernova) forms what is known as a supernova remnant, which is a rapidly expanding shell of hot gas. Probably the most famous supernova remnant is the Crab Nebula in the constellation Taurus. The Crab Nebula was formed when a star ~6500 light years away (in our own galaxy) went supernova. Chinese astronomers in the year 1054 A.D. recorded a “guest star” (supernova) that was so bright that it was visible during daylight hours for more than three weeks and they were able to observe it for ~2 years before the supernova faded away. This supernova formed the crab nebula, which is still expanding.  (2011 03 03, M1/NGC 1952 report) […]

  2. […] related posts regarding supernovae can be found here: 2011 03 03, M1/NGC 1952 2011 06 27 – M51/NGC 5194, NGC 5195/H 1.186, Supernova 2011dh Share […]

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