The Crab Nebula was a supernova which left behind a neutron star. You can see here that the postcard image was made from five separate images overlaid onto each other. Just beautiful!
Here’s the story of why a star goes supernova and what it leaves behind:
This picture shows the remains of Supernova G54. This nebula also has a neutron star at the centre.
This is shown by the bright yellow spot in the middle. Yellow is showing where we can detect X-rays, and neutron stars emit X-rays quite strongly.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CXC/ESA/NRAO/J. Rho (SETI Institute)
Incredibly, the violent death of a star as a supernova allows new stars to form.
Those supernova remains – clouds dust and gas – will eventually be pulled together in clumps by gravity. When enough stuff forms a big enough lump, it will be hot enough to start nuclear fusion reactions. They produce so much energy that light is given off and the star is born. Like the bright star shown here in a region of the Orion Nebula.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Robberto ( Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team
Amazing observations. A really important part of science is making observations, and writing down what you see. Watch the video below – called the Birth of ‘Phoenix’ Planets – and write down what you see happening. Watch it as many times as you like and try to write your observations with as much detail as you can. The video has no sound. Video credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Once you have completed your observations report, you can check out the NASA webpage that explains what the animator was trying to show. How closely does your description match with theirs? Click here to read it.
You can go to the previous DeepSpace secret pages by clicking the places below.