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"Crab Nebula -- M1" 11/11/99 Kitt Peak, Arizona
(Image by Adam Block, Willis Greiner and Cheryl Price. Copyright NOAO, all rights reserved.)

This CCD image was obtained using a 16" Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope operating at f/6.3. The camera used was a SBIG ST-8; sky chart software was Software Bisque's The Sky, acquisition and image manipulation software was Cyanogen's Maxim DL. Three 300-second exposures were taken and combined to form a raw composite image. Dark and flat-field exposures were taken and applied to the raw images. A maximum-entropy algorithm was then applied to the combined data, resulting in the final image shown here.

The Crab Nebula in Taurus is the most famous super-nova remnant in the heavens. Its "rediscovery" by Charles Messier in 1758 inspired him to begin his famous Messier Catalogue. The Crab has long been recognized as a super-nova remnant (formed after what is thought to be a giant explosion of its central star; observed in 1054 AD) and has been rather carefully scrutinized ever since. Throughout the world there exists native pictographs and artistic accounts also recording this massive explosion. Photographic accounts over the last 100 years show an obvious expansion of the interstellar gas associated with the nebula. The Crab Nebula is a dim but observable object with small to medium-sized amateur telescopes.

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All images and narratives copyright Willis Greiner, all rights reserved.

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