The Crab Nebula is a popular target for astronomical observations and also has been imaged by telescopes like Hubble in the past. What makes this new visualization different is the mix of three different information sets to produce a 3D photo of the nebula, which flaunts its fancy framework. With the information gathered from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and also the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the visualization shows a brand-new level of detail of this expensive marvel.
“Seeing two-dimensional images of an object, especially of a complex structure like the Crab Nebula, doesn’t give you a good idea of its three-dimensional nature,” Space Telescope Science Institute’s (STScI) visualization scientist Frank Summers, who led the team that developed the visualization, said in a statement. “With this scientific interpretation, we want to help people understand the Crab Nebula’s nested and interconnected geometry. The interplay of the multiwavelength observations illuminates all of these structures. Without combining X-ray, infrared, and visible light, you don’t get the full picture.”
To see how the different wavelengths used in the imaging process choose various details, you can check out the three separate photos below. By utilizing the multiple instruments to check out various wavelengths, details of the outer, middle, and also inner of the nebula can all be seen concurrently.
In addition to being lovely to consider and engaging for the public, this visualization is also advantageous to astronomy researchers. It reveals clearly that the nebula is not, as a lot of galaxies are, a timeless residue of a supernova. Instead, it is of a type called a pulsar wind galaxy, which has a core of more cooling gas, which is heated by radiation.
“It is truly via the multiwavelength structure that you can more clearly comprehend that it’s a pulsar wind nebula,” Summers said. “This is an important learning objective. You can understand the energy from the pulsar at the core moving out to the synchrotron cloud, and then further out to the filaments of the cage.”