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Watch the Crab Nebula Expand Over a 13 Year Period 65

The Bad Astronomer writes "A thousand years ago, the light from the explosion of a massive star reached the Earth. We now call this supernova remnant the Crab Nebula, and a new image of the Crab taken by astronomer Adam Block shows the physical expansion of the debris, made obvious in a short video comparing his 2012 observations with some taken in 1999. The outward motion of filaments and knots in the material can be easily traced even over this relatively short time baseline."
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Watch the Crab Nebula Expand Over a 13 Year Period

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:31PM (#44447739)

    LAME!!! just 2 exposures alternating back and forth.

    • by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:43PM (#44447893) Journal

      2.43759728 × 10^-9 FPS should be enough for anybody.

    • by SlayerofGods ( 682938 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:46PM (#44447941)

      Plus the biggest changes seem to be in the colors not the growth which might be related to the fact it was taken by two different telescopes....

      • by cjjjer ( 530715 )
        This is what I thought of, basically the newer telescope probably has updated optics and can take a finer grain of image, of course it will show more and seem like it has grown bigger.
        • No. Firstly the colours are simply mapping different emissions to different wavelengths. The reddish picture is what it really looks like with the red being mostly Hydrogen Alpha and in part Ionised Sulphur emissions (both infrared). The yellowish picture maps Hydrogen Alpha to the green channel and Sulphur II to the red channel (result is yellow / brown). In either case the blue remains Ozone emissions. This has been labelled the Hubble Palette as that's how pictures came from the Hubble so you could separ

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        Why the misinformation?! The background stars don't move, the nebula expands, the color is irrelevant. Watch it in black and white if you must.

      • The colour has nothing to do with being two different scopes. It's to do with two different ways of mapping data. The reddish picture is what the nebula looks like on a colour camera. Ha and SII emissions from nebula are infrared and cameras map them to red. When doing narrow band imaging if you want to separate these emissions you can do it quite well the way Hubble did and map Ha to the green channel and SII to red.

        This means the yellow in the first picture is the same emission as the red in the second pi

    • by Zaatxe ( 939368 )
      It's more like "Crap Nebula", duh!
  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:35PM (#44447795)

    Craaaaaaab people! Craaaaaaaab people! Craaaaaab people!

  • Nice shots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:40PM (#44447861)
    The newer one picks up more of the blue, so it looks larger. If you watch the red, it is definitely moving outward. Will have to use this the next time I teach about nebula.
  • The video was over a minute, watching two images flip back and forth every couple of seconds with cheesy music in the background.

    No voice over, no explanation, no real utility to the video. Showing the two static snapshots in a super-imposable way would have been a cooler use of technology.

  • by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:48PM (#44447953)

    The Crab Nebula exploded in 1054; well, 6500 years earlier, to be pedantic. But the light arrived to Earth in 1054. So what else happened in 1054? Oh yeah, the great Schism (
    Funny coincidence...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ahh yes, a couple of loud mouth idiots from a church yelled at a couple of loud mouth idiots from another church, imagine that! Such a coincidence this happened at the same time as the Crab Nebula exploding.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      The Crab Nebula exploded in 1054; well, 6500 years earlier, to be pedantic.

      No, if you're truly pedantic, you point out that it took the photons 0 seconds from the explosion until they reached us.
      There are no 6500 years that had passed because there's no common frame of reference and clock for the 6500 years to have passed in. 6500 light years is a distance, not a time, and calculating the time with the Newtonian approach of t=v/s doesn't work when the Lorenz factor becomes significant. At c, it's infinite.

      And if you want to go full Albert, you'd say that it explodes in 1054 AD e

      • I'd prefer to stay falsely pedantic, thank you very much :)

  • Bad comparison. (Score:4, Informative)

    by EkriirkE ( 1075937 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:49PM (#44447971) Homepage
    The second "larger" image was processed differently - more lightening of the dark end & over exposed. All the stars bloom in the new image as they've been enhanced stronger than the older image. Granted the internal filaments did move slightly, there is cheating to make it look more pronounced.
    • Of course, but... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gavin Scott ( 15916 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @01:25PM (#44448437)

      Ignore the parts that are differently visible and the color differences, and focus on the parts that are the same in both images.

      You'll see that the elements from the earlier photo have moved away from the center of the nebula and this is visible relative to all the background stars.


    • by tuo42 ( 3004801 )
      I agree to a degree (did I just type that?) that the comparison is not that good. The problem is: we are not only comparing eleven years in astrophotography experience, post-processing experience, post-processing software evolution, but also two completely different optical drivetrains if I understand the article correctly. Furthermore: different filters, different exposure times, different people doing them, different cameras and chips (or at least in different ages)....I could go on for a couple of hund
      • Without any details about both images (filters, exposure times etc.) it is hard to compare them.

        Actually there's plenty to compare. The first picture and the second picture is recording the same structure just that yellow = red, and both emissions are Ha + SII. Now when you ignore the colour just look at the location of stars to identify your arc seconds per pixel, and then start measuring the internal parts of the nebula that moved.

        All the information you need is there once you get over the fact that the pictures look different, just focus on the structure and pronounced features.

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      Many people keep repeating it. To me it seems to indicate that many people are either in serious need of an eye exam, or that they see only what supports their preconceived notions, not how it really is. There is no "slight" movement of the filaments, the images almost look like they were of different nebulas, if it wasn't for the background stars!

    • Can you really call a step change in performance between cameras of 1999 and 2012 cheating? This is really irrelevant as the only thing that matters is how many arc seconds wide the internal structures of the nebula are, and as you said the filaments did move I think you'll agree with me when I say if we used the same old camera we'd still end up with the same article showing the nebula expanded.

  • Cool guys don't look at explosions.

  • Memorial (Score:5, Funny)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:51PM (#44448001)
    We should all take this time to remember the brave folks who, thousands of years ago, had to self destruct their crab-class starship to save the universe from the Daleks.
  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @01:15PM (#44448325)

    This was first done in 1921 []

    True, they didn't have animated gifs back then...

  • many features near the edge have not moved at all. It leads me to
    think that in the later exposure, you are simply seeing details
    that were not previously visible.

  • Anyone figure out how fast the "debris" is moving from the center? To see this kind of a change, on this scale, in such a short time, it must be mind-blowing fast!
  • WTF Slate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @02:52PM (#44449843)

    Off topic but I really am annoyed with the hack web "programmers" that build web sites with a dozen or more cross site scripts. Here's the shit list from this latest atrocity:

    That's 21 external javascript sites. There are probably more that would be pulled in if I enabled all these sites in NoScript. This is seriously pathetic.

  • by spaceyhackerlady ( 462530 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @04:40PM (#44450905)

    I have heard it suggested that when Messier was compiling his list of things not to look at because they're not comets, the Crab Nebula was prominently in his list because it was significantly smaller and brighter in his day than it is now. It's far from conspicuous today...


  • I've also expanded over a 13 year period.

  • There are more comments bitching about the link than comments about the actual nebula. Even the nerds are disinterested in space these days...
    • by aiht ( 1017790 )

      There are more comments bitching about the link than comments about the actual nebula. Even the nerds are disinterested in space these days...

      No, it's just that the nerds who are interested in space already knew that this happens, so the only new thing here is the presentation.
      I was a bit disappointed because I was expecting a time-lapse video.
      I still think the video's worth watching, but switching between two images is hardly a revolutionary technique in astronomy.

  • I'm overwhelmed with regret that they did not, indeed, take a picture every week like I expected, or even every year.

    Two pictures. And they made a VIDEO. For two pictures.

  • Hubble: Timelapse of V838 Monocerotis (2002-2006) [1080p] []
    "The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has been observing the V838 Mon light echo since 2002. Each new observation of the light echo reveals a new and unique "thin-section" through the interstellar dust around the star. This video morphs images of the light echo from the Hubble taken at multiple times between 2002 and 2006. The numerous whorls and eddies in the interstellar dust are particularly noticeable. Possibly they have been produced by the eff

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."