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M 1  (NGC 1952),  The  Crab  Nebula,  In Taurus

   M1, the famous supernova remnant in Taurus, is approximately 6300 ly distant from Earth (Burnham). The supernova was reported in 1054 by Chinese astronomers and was so bright it could be seen in the daytime for several months. The exploding star that created it is now a pulsar, a  neutron star  that rotates 30 times per second and emits radio, optical, and X-ray pulses. The blue light is said to be due to synchrotron radiation. The nebula is approximately 6 x 4 arcmin in dimensions but bright enough to be detected in relatively small telescopes and is expanding at about 1000 miles per second.

   This image was made with my upgraded RCOS Ritchey-Chretien telescope and was the first test of my collimating abilities. While not perfect, I think I did pretty well—the strands within the tangled ball of red yarn that comprises the remains of the supernova can be distinguished clearly. The measured FWHM of nonsaturating stars in the individual frames was 3.0 arcsec, which is a career best for me. Thanks to Rob Gendler and Chris Schur for helpful suggestions.

 Date  2003-02-25 

 RCOS Ritchey-Chretien scope at f/9  with ST-10XME CCD camera at -15 °C on the 

  A-P 1200 GTO  mount.   Guided with internal guide chip. SBIG CFW-8 filter wheel.         


 Five 5 min exposures L, R, G, and and five 7.5 minute B, all at 1x1 binning.  Total 112.5 minutes.


 Raw frames calibrated in MaxIm 3.09. Master L, R, G, and B frames were then 

  created in MaxIm. A gradient was removed from the red master by means of Wodaski's Gradient 

  Removal plug-in.  20 iterations of CCDSharp's R-L deconvolution were carried out on the luminance 

  and red master images. The RGB color combine was carried out  in MaxIm with a weighting of 1.25, 1.0, 

  and  1.65, respectively. The luminance image was then registered with the RGB image in RegiStar. The 

  images were imported into Photoshop and combined with the L image as Luminosity at 100% opacity.

  The RGB and luminosity layers were then separately adjusted with Levels and Curves before flattening 

  and converting to a jpg file.



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