May 13, 2017

Telescopes get a new visual on the Crab Nebula

G. Dubner (IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires) et al.; NRAO/AUI/NSF; A. Loll et al.; T. Temim et al.; F. Seward et al.; Chandra/CXC; Spitzer/JPL-Caltech; XMM-Newton/ESA; and Hubble / STScI

An amazing new image of the Crab Nebula, which is made up of the remnants of a bright supernova explosion that Chinese and other astronomers originally observed as a star in 1054, has been created by combining data from telescopes around the world.

Distance matters: The Crab Nebula is 6,500 light-years away from Earth — but NASA reports if it were 50 light-years away it would have irradiated Earth and killed off life at the time.

Why it looks the way it does: Neutrons at the center of the mass (called a pulsar), fast-moving particles coming from the pulsar, and the surrounding material that came from the original supernova explosion itself give the nebula it's unique shape.

Data from five telescopes were combined to create a new image of the nebula: The VLA (radio) in red, Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) in yellow, Hubble Space Telescope (visible) in green, XMM-Newton (ultraviolet) in blue, and Chandra X-ray Observatory (X-ray) in purple.

Why it exploded in the first place: Stars explode when they acquire too much mass, which either happens when it's too old or when it consumes another star.

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Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

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President Trump with members of the new coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, special advisor to the director general of the World Health Organization, told MSNBC Wednesday he found "most" of what President Trump said at his briefing on the novel coronavirus "incoherent."

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