The Crab Nebula, despite being extensively studied, still holds unanswered questions about its origins and the explosion that formed it. NASA, ESA and CSA's James Webb Space Telescope is now investigating it with its advanced infrared capabilities, shedding new light on this celestial mystery.
Situated 6,500 light-years away in the Taurus constellation, the Crab Nebula has fascinated astronomers since its discovery in 1054 CE. A team led by Tea Temim at Princeton University is using Webb's NIRCam and MIRI to examine the nebula's composition to determine the nature of the explosion.
Webb's observations reveal intricate details, including synchrotron radiation, created by charged particles within the nebula, and the pulsar at its core.
“Webb's sensitivity and spatial resolution allow us to accurately determine the composition of the ejected material, particularly the content of iron and nickel, which may reveal what type of explosion produced the Crab Nebula," explained Temim.
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