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The Crab Nebula The Crab Nebula is the nearest most conspicuous and appealing supernova remnant In 1054 a star in the constellation of Taurus exploded in a supernova the violent death of a star so bright that it dominated the evening sky for more than a year History of the Crab Nebula The nebula consists of the material ejected in the supernova explosion which spreads over a volume of 10 light years in diameter and is still expanding at a velocity of 1800 kmsec Messier Object 1 Discovered as a guest star by Chinese astronomers on July 4 1054 AD it was four to six times brighter than Venus Although it is nearly 6500 light years away and has a diameter of 6 light years it was visible in daylight for 23 days and 653 days to the naked eye at night The Chinese astronomers described the star as having pointed rays in four directions and a reddish-white color Messier Object 1 The Anasazi Indians in Arizona and New Mexico may have also seen the event and drawn pictures of it Three pictographs have been found on in a cave at White Mesa and on a wall of Navajo Canyon and the Chaco Canyon national park Messier Object 1 The drawings show a large star with a crescent moon nearby Scientists have calculated that on the morning of July 4 1054 the Moon was located 2 degrees north of the Crab nebulas current position History of the Crab Nebula The supernova was discovered again more than 600 years later in 1731 by English physicist and amateur astronomer John Bevis Then in 1758 while searching for Comets Charles Messier spotted the nebula noting that it had no apparent proper motion The nebula became the first entry September 12 1758 in his famous Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters which was first published in 1774 In 1844 Lord Rosse named the nebula the
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