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Cosmic Coloring Compositor
Create your own mobile phone background, desktop background or social media banner with our colorful compositor
To fully grasp the nature of the universe, astronomers study all wavelengths of light – what scientists call the electromagnetic spectrum. A few of these wavelengths can be seen with the human eye. The longest visible wavelength is red and the shortest is violet. Other common colors of the spectrum, in order of decreasing wavelength, may be remembered by the mnemonic: ROY G BIV.
Astronomers have produced spectacular, multi-wavelength images such as the Crab Nebula – the remains of a supernova explosion – by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum, from the long radio waves seen by Very Large Array (VLA) to the shorter x-rays, on the opposite end of the spectrum, observed by NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
Discover many amazing details of the invisible universe by changing the wavelengths of radio, infrared, ultraviolet, and X-ray to colors your eyes can recognize!
M1 Crab Nebula Learn More...
Nearly a thousand years ago, a dim star in the constellation Taurus exploded into a brilliant supernova. Chinese astronomers took note of this “guest star” in the night sky, which shined brighter than the full Moon, and remained visible to the naked eye for more than a year.
For centuries, the remnant gas and dust of the dead star expanded into space unnoticed. Then in 1731, British amateur astronomer John Bevis spotted the nebula formed from the starry remains and included it in his star atlas. And not until last century did astronomers discover the leftover core of the original star had become a pulsar at the heart of the nebula, rotating more than 30 times a second. Now known as the Crab Nebula, it is one of the most studied supernova remnants in astronomy, helping us to understand how stars evolve and die, and continually teaching us new things about the Universe.
The Crab Nebula can be seen with a small telescope, but our eyes can only see a small fraction of the total light it gives off. In addition to visible light, it also emits radio, infrared, ultraviolet, and X-ray light.
For more information on this image, check out the press release here.