The Crab Nebula

Crab Nebula
This image was obtained by Sven Kohle and Till Credner of Bonn, Germany on October 26, 1995.

Here is a higher resolution image of the Crab Nebula to print on your color printer!

This activity works well in teams of three. EACH PERSON on the team will need the following materials.


The image you see above is an image of the gas cloud that remains after a star blows up. The material in this gas cloud will eventually be used to form many new stars. This gas cloud is called the Crab Nebula, the star exploded in the year 1054 AD. The explosion was so bright that several Chinese astronomers reported seeing the bright light in the sky during the daytime!

The gas is several different colors because it is at different temperatures. The hottest part is blue in color, the coldest is red.

We are going to look at the Crab Nebula through our color filter wheel. Within your team assign one color from the color wheel to each team member. Someone will be blue, someone will be red and the other person will be yellow.

Hold your filter wheel, with your assigned color showing, over the image of the Crab Nebula. Sketch what you see. Do not remove the filter while you are sketching. Try to make your sketch as accurate as you can in color, size and detail. Your partners should do the same thing with their color wheel turned to the color assigned to them.

Once everyone on your team has finished making a sketch of the Crab Nebula compare your sketches with one another. Are they all the same? Are they different? If they are different, discuss the ways in which they differ.

When you have finished comparing your sketches click here.

Make a Filter Wheel Filters Lesson What did you see?