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Fast Facts
Crab Nebula

Crab Nebula, M1, NGC 1952


A supernova remnant (the glowing remains of a massive star) with a pulsar (a type of neutron star) at its center


The nebula formed about a thousand years ago from the supernova explosion noted by Chinese astronomers in 1054.


Found in the constellation Taurus

Distance from Earth 6,500 light-years

6,500 light-years


The nebula's width, in the image below, is 8 light-years. Its length in this image is 11 light-years

Nearly 1,000 years ago, Japanese and Chinese astronomers recorded the violent supernova explosion that left behind this remnant.

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"Fast Facts: Crab Nebula" is a table that lists the name, description, location, size, and distance of the nebula from Earth. A picture of the nebula is included.

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Adaptable, at teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.

A mapping activity. Locate the nebula's associated constellation on a star map.

A large-number recognition activity. Have students look at several Fast Fact tables, including this one. Ask them to place the objects described in the Fast Fact tables in order, starting with the object closest to Earth and ending with the one farthest away.

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.

Related materials

Lithograph: Crab Nebula (M1)

Tales of … A History of the Crab Nebula

Amazing Space resources by topic: Stars and Stellar Evolution