Telescopes around the world have teamed up to crack open the Crab Nebula, the dusty remnants of an exploded star. By combining different types of observations, astronomers produced one of the most detailed images of the stunning space cloud to date.
The Crab Nebula (M1) lies 6,500 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Taurus and is barely visible to the naked eye. It measures about 10 light-years across and is constantly expanding.
At the core of this giant cloud of gas and dust is a rapidly spinning neutron star, or the tiny, dense corpse of a star that exploded about a millennium ago. Known as a pulsar, this type of neutron star appears to flicker periodically as it rotates. The pulsar at the heart of the Crab Nebula flickers about once every 33 milliseconds. [Photos: Amazing Views of the Famous Crab Nebula]