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Jon Greif

Location of Photo:

Alpine, CA, USA

Date/Time of photo:

January 4, 2024, between 9-10 pm PST


SeeStar S50 Smart Scope. Processing in Pixinsight 1.8.9 on an M1 MacBook Pro.


This is the the Crab Nebula (AKA M1), a supernova remnant, what’s left of an exploded neutron star, imaged from our backyard last night in an unusually (for recent weeks) clear dark sky. The image is from a stack of over 200 10-second frames using a new, unguided telescope called the SeeStar. Here's a nice description of the Crab Nebula, excerpted from the website EarthSky.org: Chinese astronomers noticed the sudden appearance of a star blazing in the daytime sky on July 4, 1054 AD. This “guest star” – an exploding supernova – remained visible in daylight for some 23 days. The supernova erupted – and the Crab Nebula formed – about 6,500 light-years away. After exploding onto the scene in 1054 and shining brightly in the night sky for two years, there are no reports of anything unusual in this spot in the sky until 1731. In that year, English astronomer John Bevis recorded an observation of a faint nebulosity. In 1758, French comet-hunter Charles Messier spotted the hazy patch, and it became the first entry in his catalog of objects. Thus, the Crab Nebula has the name M(essier)1. In 1844, astronomer William Parsons – the third Earl of Rosse – observed M1 through his large telescope in Ireland. Because he described it as having a shape resembling a crab, that became its familiar nickname.