Bad Astronomy video: The pink and purple crab.

Bad Astronomy Video: The Pink and Purple Crab

Bad Astronomy Video: The Pink and Purple Crab

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
March 23 2015 12:00 PM

Bad Astronomy Video: The Pink and Purple Crab

Most detailed image of the Crab Nebula

Take equal parts 1) supernova, 2) Hubble Space Telescope, and 3) Herschel infrared observatory. Mix well. What do you get? Purple (and pink) majesty.

This video is based on an article I wrote about this observation. And yeah, you want to go take a look; the high-res picture is pretty phenomenal.

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I love this image of the Crab Nebula, if only because the colors are almost electric. But also because this has been an intensely scrutinized object; people have dedicated their careers to it, and lots of astronomers have done at least some work on it. I have too; I did a bit of coding for a Hubble observation years ago, and developed/updated a classroom education exercise based on the observable expansion of the gas. And, of course, I’ve observed it a zillion times with binoculars and telescopes.

But when you get new tech, like Herschel, you learn new things. Even familiar faces have something to teach us when we see them in a new way.

If there is a life lesson in there somewhere, feel free to find it. 

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Jim Festante is an actor/writer in Los Angeles and regular video contributor to Slate. He is the author of the Image Comics miniseries The End Times of Bram and Ben.