M1 Crab – born in 1054

M1 Crab nebula – first item in the Charles Messier catalogue. Messier was a comet hunter who created catalogue of fuzzy objects in the sky, so they will no longer be mistaken with comet. M1 nebula is supernova remnant in constellation of Taurus. It is pretty compact and quite bright and can be spotted with binoculars. Corresponding supernova was recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054, and since then Crab nebula is expanding outward at about 1,500 km/s. M1 lies about 6,500 light years away in Perseus Arm of Milky Way. At the center of nebula lies the Crab Pulsar – a neutron star about 30km across that rotates over 30 times per second! 

Crab nebula structure is extraordinary – with increasing resolution more and more features and structures are visible. Best images so far have been of course made by HST telescope, but I also picked up this nebula this winter. Over last two months I pointed telescope there for five times during selected nights with good seeing. However good seeing was always connected with poor transparency, so despite large amount of data, the overall image has quite low signal to noise ratio.

Images below were made with Meade ACF 10″ telescope and QHY163M camera on EQ6 mount at my suburban backyard observatory. First one is pure RGB image with mere 18:12:12 minutes of exposures. Second one is additionally decorated with hydrogen alpha channel (55×5 minutes) and oxygen II channel (25×5 minutes). 

Crab nebula – RGB channels only. 42 minutes of total exposure time
Crab nebula – HORGB composition
Crab nebula enlarged crop

RGB large version http://astrojolo.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/M1RGB_DBE.jpg

HORGB large version http://astrojolo.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2018-03-20-M1HORGB-2.jpg

Clear skies!

Image technical data:

Date:       January-February 2018
Location:   Nieborowice, Poland
Telescope:  Meade ACF 10"
Corrector:  AP CCDT67
Camera:     QHY163M, gain 0
Mount:      SW EQ6
Guiding:    SW 80/400 + ASI290MM
Exposure:   Ha 55x5, Oiii 25x5, RGB 18:12:12x1 minute
Conditions: seeing good, transparency average-poor

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