Super flares in the Crab Nebula

14 May 2011

At www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/news/crab-flare.html ... the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has detected a powerful series of flares coming from somewhere within the Crab Nebula - and provides two videos of the event. The first flare was seen on April 12th and the second on the 16th (but see also the www.thunderbolts.info web site which has already posted on this event). See also http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10767 

At www.physorg.com/print224394984.html the same story pops up - with the same videos. It says the Crab Nebula is the wreckage of an exploded star that emitted light which reached the earth in 1054 - presumably a calculation. It is located in the constellation Taurus and an expanding gas cloud is thought to hide what is left of the star - the remains of its core. The remnant, described as a neutron star, spins very quickly and as it swings sends intense beams of radiation towards the earth (a pulsar). Scientists from NASA suggest the flares occur as the magnetic field is breached and the pulsar undergoes restructuring and in the process accelerates particles such as electrons to velocities near the speed of light. As these electrons intersect with the magnetic field they emit gamma-rays. Sort of like lightning?

You can also read the same story and see the same video at www.space.com/11641-superflare-crab-nebula-defies-explanation.html ... there are some comments attached which might interest some people as the sun is compared to the crab nebula etc.