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Arguably the best known nebula in the universe, the Crab Nebula is the remnant of a supernova explosion that was observed and recorded in the year 1054. Chinese astronomers wrote that it was visible during daylight for more than three weeks, and in the night sky for almost two years. 700 years later, in 1731, an amateur British astronomer named John Bevis discovered the remnants of the explosion. Charles Messier independently discovered it 27 years later, prompting him to begin his eponymous catalog of astronomical objects, hence its designation as “M1”.
The nebula is expanding at the rate of about 1400km/sec (nearly 4 million mph). The Hubble photo shows the intricate gaseous filaments that used to be the outer layers of the exploded star. The Crab Nebula is “only” 6500 light years away, and can be observed with a pair of binoculars in the constellation Taurus.