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News Release 732 of 939

May 30, 1996 02:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1996-22

Hubble Astronomers Unveil "Crab Nebula - The Movie"

May 30, 1996: Probing the mysterious heart of the Crab Nebula, the tattered remains of an exploding star, astronomers have found this object to be even more dynamic than previously understood. These findings are based on a cosmic "movie" assembled from a series of Hubble telescope observations.

The sequence of pictures is giving astronomers a remarkable look at the dynamic relationship between the tiny Crab pulsar — the collapsed core of the exploding star — and the vast nebula of dust and gas that it powers. This picture, which reveals the inner parts of the Crab, represents one frame from the movie. The Crab pulsar is the star on the left [white dot] near the center of the frame. Surrounding the pulsar is a complex of sharp knots and wisp-like features.

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Credit: Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen (Arizona State University) and NASA