6000 light-years

The Crab Nebula is the remnant of a supernova explosion recorded by Chinese and Arab astronomers in 1054. At its peak it would have been brighter than every star and planet in the night sky. In its wake the explosion left us the ever-expanding nebula, and a rapidly spinning neutron star called a pulsar at its centre. This image was made by a trio of space-based instruments - the Spitzer Space Telescope (red), the Hubble Space Telescope (green and dark blue) and the Chandra X-ray Observatory (light blue).

Credit: Image made in x-ray and visible light by J. Hester for NASA / CXC / STScI / ASU and in infrared light by R. Gehrz for NASA / JPL-Caltech / U. Minnesota.

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