M1 (The Crab Nebula)
Waking up is hard to do!.After seeing the skies yesterday morning,I felt a overwhelming urge to wake up early this morning for a glimpse of the up and coming winter skies.I awoke at 2am (yes…2am! Crazy huh?)and quickly set my scope up.Heh,I say quickly but,it was more of a wake up first and second guess my sanity!.After looking at the sky conditions through my window I realized that I was wasting precious time because,after all I had to leave for work at 5am.I had the scope set up and aligned by 2:45am and the digital camera attached and focused by 3am.Why is it,that when you spend a lot of time leveling,balancing and tweaking the scope,you get a mediocre alignment and other times when you just align willy nilly you get a almost perfect alignment?.I wonder if that is Murpheys law?.Regardless,I started my tour with the Hyades which was simply amazing.The large and obvious “V” shape really stood out against the dark sky.I then slewed the scope towards Orion but,unfortunately it had snuck behind some tree’s making it impossible to see most of it.Feeling a bit disappointed,I made my way to the Pleiades.I took a couple shots and decided to move on to the Crab nebula which is where I spent the rest of my short observing time because,a huge fog bank was rolling in from the lake.By the time I had my scope torn down, the street had taken on this rather eery mid 1800’s London feel to it with Jack the Ripper lurking in the shadows of modern day architecture.Their won’t be any observing tonight as it has clouded with showers in the forecast.Luckily though,the skies are suppose to clear up tomorrow afternoon and be clear tomorrow night (my fingers are crossed)!.
The Crab Nebula, Messier 1 (M1, NGC 1952), is the most famous and conspicuous known supernova remnant, the expanding cloud of gas created in the explosion of a star as supernova which was observed in the year 1054 AD. It shines as a nebula of magnitude 8.4 near the southern “horn” of Taurus, the Bull.The supernova was noted on July 4, 1054 A.D. by Chinese astronomers as a new or “guest star,” and was about four times brighter than Venus, or about mag -6. According to the records, it was visible in daylight for 23 days, and 653 days to the naked eye in the night sky.
The Crab Nebula can be found quite easily from Zeta Tauri (or 123 Tauri), the “Southern Horn” of the Bull, a 3rd-magnitude star which can be easily found ENE of Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri). M1 is about 1 deg N and 1 deg W of Zeta, just slightly south and about 1/2 degree west of a mag-6 star, Struve 742.
Imaged with a Pentax ist DS digital camera at prime focus
ISO setting was 400
Exposure was 85 seconds
Cropped and enhanced with PS.
Information courtesy of :SEDS
Click image for larger view: