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M1: The Crab Nebula

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#1 cildarith

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 11:44 PM

Object Name: NGC 1952
Also Known As: Messier 1, LBN 883, Taurus A, Sh2-224, SN1054, Taurus X-1, Crab Nebula
Object Type: Supernova Remnant
Constellation: Taurus
Right Ascension (2000.0): 05h 34m 32.0s
Declination (2000.0): +22° 00' 52"
Magnitude: 8.4
Dimensions: 6' x 4'
Distance: 6,500 light years
Discovery: John Bevis, 1731
NGC Description: vB, vL, E 135°±, vglbM, r

Telescope: Parks Astrolight EQ6 • 6" f/6 Newtonian Reflector
Eyepiece/Magnification: 7.5mm Parks Gold Series Plössl • 120x • 26' FoV
Date/Time: 14 February 2010 • 02:45-04:00 UT
Observing Location: Oaksanita Springs, Descanso, San Diego Co., California, USA
Transparency: NELM 6.3, TLM 14.2
Seeing: Pickering 8
Conditions: Clear, calm

On 4-5 July 1054 a new star blazed forth between the horns of Taurus and was, according to Chinese astronomers of the Sung dynasty, visible in daylight and observed for 23; it remained visible in nighttime skies for at least 653 nights. The remnant of this supernova explosion was discovered by Dr. John Bevis in 1731 and included by Charles Messier as the first object in his famous catalogue after observing it on 12 September 1758. The rapidly spinning core of the remnant is one of the first known pulsars and the first to be identified with an object at visible wavelengths – a faint 16th magnitude star near the center of the nebula. The pulsar and attendant nebulosity are among the most intensely studied objects by modern researchers.

Nearly 1000 years after the initial explosion, the remnant is still easily accessible to the amateur astronomer equipped with a small telescope (or even binoculars from a sufficiently dark sky). Look for it just over 1° northwest of 3rd-magnitude Zeta Tauri, the southern horn of Taurus.

The Crab Nebula (as Lord Rosse named the nebula in 1844) is a notoriously bland object, with a reputation for little detail. My previous observations have revealed the "pearly" elliptical glow with faint, twisted extensions giving it the overall appearance of a bloated "S", with subtle mottling across the face of the nebula. On the night of the current observation, under transparent skies and very steady seeing conditions, M1 was alive with subtle detail. During moments of fine seeing the tantalizing, mottled glow resolved into a bewildering cluster of knots and streamers of nebulosity. The high-magnification (120x) sketch presented here (composed over the course of about one hour) does not do justice to spectacle, but it is the best my finite skills could manage.

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#2 frank5817

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:03 AM

Eric,

Very nice write-up and description of the Crab nebula and a stunning sketch of the details in that explosive remnant. Using 6" of aperture you really collect all the photons that scope delivers.
Hang that drawing on your wall. :waytogo: :thewave:

Frank :)

#3 phxbird

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:33 AM

Very nice. I posted a sketch last week and though I could see some of the detail with averted vision I could not see the level of detail that you did. Good posting!

#4 JayinUT

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:46 AM

Eric,

Just stunning and beautiful. I appreciate the detail in the sketch and in your comments which are so through. Thanks for sharing this masterpiece.

#5 S1mas

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 02:05 AM

Superb and realistic work, thanks :)

#6 markseibold

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 04:22 AM

Eric

What a superb rendering of M1 :bow: :bow: :bow:

I agree with Frank. You should hang this one as a displayed artwork. Your sketch defies the earlier talk of the Crab as a bland object. Your great text info is also an invaluable accompaniment to your imaging.

Mark
www.markseibold.com
My CN Gallery

#7 CarlosEH

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 08:59 AM

Erik,

An outstanding observation and report of the Crab Nebula (M1) in Taurus. You have captured the "ghostly" appearance of this planetary nebula very nicely. many observers look at images of the nebula and expect it to be an easy target. This is not the case as we all find out.

I am glad to see your excellent observations on the forum once again. Reviewing your deep sky observations and reports are very educational for us all. I look forward to your future observations.

Carlos

#8 Jef De Wit

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 09:11 AM

Eric
Beautiful sketch and report, as allways! And no, I will not mention the B-word this time...

#9 JayKSC

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 09:37 AM

Eric,

Thank you for your excellent write-up and fantastic sketch! You've captured a wealth of detail in this curious object, which impresses me considering your using 150mm of aperture.

- Jay
South Florida

#10 BillP

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:11 AM

Eric,

Great observation!! What would you estimate the darkness limiting magnitude) at your site to have been when you did the observation?

-Bill

#11 cildarith

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:25 AM

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! :)

Bill:

Transparency: NELM 6.3, TLM 14.2
Seeing: Pickering 8

#12 ladip63

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 03:56 PM

Eric :bow: :bow: WOW!! Really nice sketch.

Lynn

#13 blb

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 04:09 PM

Eric, another great sketch. I have never seen anything but an oblong gray blob. I wish I had your skies. Another one for the book. Really liked your wright up too.

Buddy

#14 mandotrout

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 04:41 PM

That's a great sketch! As impressive as your rendering of M1 is, I wish I could capture the different magnitudes of the stars like that! Mine all just look like bigger or smaller spots of equal brightness.

#15 cildarith

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 08:33 AM

Thanks, Lynn, Buddy, and Jeff!

#16 niteskystargazer

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:17 AM

Eric,

:waytogo:, That a nice sketch :).

:thanx:,

Tom

#17 cildarith

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 12:32 AM

Thanks Tom, glad you like it!

#18 cpl43uk

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 04:24 PM

Superb sketch and the background star points are nicely understated with the nebula. I have never managed to see the tendrils but your work gives me hope!

#19 cildarith

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:31 PM

Thanks Chris! Best of luck with your observations of the Messier 1!






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