Bad Astronomy Video: The Pink and Purple Crab

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Mar 23, 2015
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Take equal parts 1) supernova, 2) Hubble Space Telescope, and 3) Herschel infrared observatory. Mix well. What do you get? Purple (and pink) majesty.

This video is based on an article I wrote about this observation. And yeah, you want to go take a look; the high-res picture is pretty phenomenal.

I love this image of the Crab Nebula, if only because the colors are almost electric. But also because this has been an intensely scrutinized object; people have dedicated their careers to it, and lots of astronomers have done at least some work on it. I have too; I did a bit of coding for a Hubble observation years ago, and developed/updated a classroom education exercise based on the observable expansion of the gas. And, of course, I’ve observed it a zillion times with binoculars and telescopes.

But when you get new tech, like Herschel, you learn new things. Even familiar faces have something to teach us when we see them in a new way.

If there is a life lesson in there somewhere, feel free to find it. 

Watch more of Slate’s Bad Astronomy videos with Phil Plait.