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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.

Go deeper

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
1 hour ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.

Obama: Broad slogans like "defund the police" lose people

Snapchat.

Former President Barack Obama told Peter Hamby on the Snapchat original political show "Good Luck America" that "snappy" slogans such as "defund the police" can alienate people, making the statements less effective than intended.

What he's saying: "You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done," Obama told Hamby in an interview that will air Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. EST on Snapchat.