I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Astronomy Tuesday

I know what you're thinking -- A nebula!

Silly Grasshopper. This may be a pretty picture of colorful tendrils of light, but that doesn't mean it's a nebula. This is more properly referred to as the Vela Supernova Remnant, the gases from a massive star explosion approximately 12,000 years ago.

But, you may ask, the Crab Nebula is also the result of a supernova -- why isn't it called the Crab Supernova Remnant? The easiest answer is that we've been looking at the sky for a long time, long before we had any idea what we were looking at, and the word nebula, from the Latin for cloud, was applied to any fuzzy-looking bright patch in the sky. This could and did include objects that we now know are galaxies and globular clusters and star nurseries as well as supernova remnants.

Things that weren't easily visible before the invention of high-powered telescopes got more precise names. End of lesson.

Credit and Copyright: Robert Gendler

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