The Supernova That Shined During The Day

The Supernova That Shined During The Day

Astronomers observed the Crab Nebula in the constellation Taurus on July 4, 1054. It was visible during the day for 23 days, but remained visible at night for almost two years. It didn't get its name until 1844, when British astronomer William Parsons produced a sketch of the nebula that resembled a crab. The Crab Nebula is close enough to Earth that you can observe it with low-powered binoculars at night—but you won't see much more than a dim spot in the sky.

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    When the supernova that became the Crab Nebula appeared in 1054, it was 4 times brighter than Venus. (0:04)

  • 2

    The Crab Nebula measures around 10 lightyears in diameter, which is far bigger than our solar system. (2:01)

  • 3

    The combined mass of the Crab Nebula and its pulsar is much less than what it should be, puzzling scientists. (2:58)

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