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Scientists Find Pulsating Heart-like Core of Crab Nebula

Crab Nebula CREDIT NASA and ESA, Acknowledgment: J. Hester (ASU) and M. Weisskopf (NASA/MSFC)

Crab Nebula CREDIT: NASA and ESA, Acknowledgment: J. Hester (ASU) and M. Weisskopf (NASA/MSFC)

Scientists found beating heart-like core of the Crab Nebula, an exploding star with its inner region resonating clock-like pulses of radiation and tsunamis of charged particles embedded in magnetic fields.

The neutron star at the very center of the Crab Nebula has about an incredibly dense sphere spreading into few miles but with the same mass as the sun, spinning 30 times a second. It was shooting out beams of energy that looked like heart’s beat or pulsating, they said.

The NASA Hubble Space Telescope snapshot that gave out the scientists the vision into the Crab Nebula that is expanding, with tattered and filamentary debris surrounding it. Hubble’s image has also captured glowing gas, shown in red, that forms a swirling medley of cavities and filaments.

When this “heartbeat” radiation was first discovered in 1968, astronomers realized they had discovered a new type of astronomical object but now astronomers know it’s the archetype of a class of supernova remnants called pulsars.

These interstellar “lighthouse beacons” are providing invaluable insight into studying a variety of astronomical phenomena, including measuring gravity waves.

Originally, the Crab supernova was recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054 A.D. as the nebula was bright enough to be visible in amateur telescopes. It is located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus.

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