My Favourite Nebula (and Other Astronomical Phenomenon)……

29 Sep

As a follow up to The Oldest Photograph Ever Taken I thought I’d cover some of my other favourite things from out there in the depths of space……

The Pillars of Creation……

The Pillars of Creation are part of the Eagle Nebula, or NGC6611 to give it its official designation.  The Eagle Nebula is approximately 7,000 light years from Earth.  That’s 41 thousand trillion miles in old money, give or take a few pence.  The Pillars of Creation is a composite of 32 different images taken at varying wavelengths by four cameras on board the Hubble Space Telescope, allowing the elements comprising the ‘cloud’ to be seen clearly……

Images taken with the Spitzer Space Telescope have uncovered a cloud of hot dust in the vicinity of the Pillars of Creation which has been interpreted by some Astrophysicists as the shockwave from a Supernova.  If this is the case, the Pillars of Creation will have already been destroyed but this will not be visible from Earth for another 1000 years due to the finite speed of light……

The Crab Nebula……

 

The Crab Nebula (NGC1952) is the remnant of a Supernova in the constellation of Taurus.  Observed by John Bevis in 1731 it is thought to be the same event recorded by Japanese, Arab and Chinese Astronomers in 1054AD.  The Crab Nebula is located approximately 6,500 light years from Earth in the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, is 11 light years in diameter and continues to expand at approximately 932 miles per second.  At the heart of the nebula is the Crab Pulsar, a Neutron star whose explosion and subsequent collapse formed the nebula.  The Crab Pulsar is 28 to 30 km across and spins at a rate of 30.2 times per second, emitting pulses of gamma radiation and radio waves.  The Crab Pulsar was the first to be identified by Astronomers and due to the regularity of the signal emitted it was initially suggested that it could be a sign of an intelligent civilisation……

Coming soon – Some of the Paradoxes Thrown up by the Big Bang, the Expansion of the Universe, Black Holes and the Speed of Light……

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