Wednesday, March 26, 2008

M-1 Crab Nebula

Since I said I'd be blogging about things that interest me, I thought I'd start with some of the astro- nomical Messier Objects. No, I'm not an expert. I can hardly find these things at night. But I like to try from time to time. This is M-1 (short for Messier-1) and it's the Crab Nebula. It's the remains of a supernova. Think the debris from a large explosion, the dust hanging in the air, only bigger than a planet. Bigger than the solar system. If you want to see it, look in the constellation Taurus. It amazes me when I think about the fact that humans saw the supernova that created this nebula. It wasn't even that long ago - 1054, when they were busy building castles and having crusades in Europe. The light from it was so bright that the only thing in the night sky that was brighter was the moon. Of course, they didn't see it as it was happening. The thing about astronomy is that there's a time delay. You're watching what happened year ago, or hundreds of years ago, or thousands. This photo is borrowed from Wikipedia by the way, and of course they borrowed it from NASA. It was taken by the Hubble telescope, and it looks much, much better than what I see when I use my Wal-mart binoculars. But then again my binoculars only cost me $5.

I had planned to put some family pictures on tonight. But I'm feeling a little like going outside and seeing if the stars are out. It was a beautiful sunny and warm day, and soon the evenings will be just right for camping out or building a fire. I think I'd better go enjoy it while it lasts.

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