Messier 1 nebula, also known as Crab, is a supernova remnant in the constellation of Taurus. It corresponds to a bright supernova recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054. Apparent diameter of Crab nebula is 7 arc minutes, that maps to real diameter of 11 light years. Crab is expanding at rate of about 1,500 kilometers per second – and this expansion can be detected even in 1-2 years time span.

M1 Crab expansion
Messier 1 Crab nebula expansion over 18 years

Over a year ago I captured Crab nebula with Meade ACF 10″ telescope and QHY163M camera. Then I took another image of Crab shot by Hubble Space Telescope in the 2000. I aligned both images, and made an animated gif, so both images blink every second.

Color palette of both images is different, and also resolution as well, but when you focus on specific details and features of nebula, then expansion can be clearly seen.

There are some much more impressive expansion animations of Messier 1 Crab nebula in the web, like for example this one made by Detlef Hartman during 10 years. And there are also some nebulae, that changes significantly in shorter time span, like Hubble’s Variable Nebula. Universe is so dynamic!

At another blinking image below I added monochromatic version of the nebula from both sources. When color information is removed, structures are better defined. Click at image to get full resolution.

Color and mono version of expanding M1 Crab nebula

Clear skies!