Crab Nebula composite from NASA’s three great observatories

November 23, 2009 18:17 by scibuff

Composite image of the Crab Nebula using data from three of NASA's Great Observatories. - Source: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward; Optical: NASA/ESA/ASU/J.Hester & A.Loll; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. Minn./R.Gehrz

Composite image of the Crab Nebula using data from three of NASA's Great Observatories. - Source: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward; Optical: NASA/ESA/ASU/J.Hester & A.Loll; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. Minn./R.Gehrz

The amazing picture of the 1054 supernova remnant above (1920×1080 version) is a composite of NASA’s three great space observatories: the Hubble Space Telescope (red and yellow), the Spitzer Space Telescope (purple) and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (blue).

The X-ray image is smaller than the others because extremely energetic electrons emitting X-rays radiate away their energy more quickly than the lower-energy electrons emitting optical and infrared light. Along with many other telescopes, Chandra has repeatedly observed the Crab Nebula over the course of the mission’s lifetime. The Crab Nebula is one of the most studied objects in the sky, truly making it a cosmic icon.