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Messier 1 – Supernova Remnant

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Messier 1 – Supernova Remnant

The first object of the Messier Catalog (M1) is called Crab Nebula. It is the remnants of a star that went supernova and one of the most famous of its kind.

The nebula was discovered by English astronomer John Bevis in 1731, and later observed by Charles Messier who mistook it for Halley’s Comet. Messier’s observation of the nebula inspired him to create a catalog of celestial objects that might be mistaken for comets.

It is located roughly 6500 light years from earth and has a total luminosity 75000 times that of our Sun



  • Type: Supernova Remnant

  • Magnitude: 8.4

  • Right Ascension : 05h 34m 31.94s

  • Declination: +22°00’52.2”

  • Distance: 6,500 light years

  • Constellation: Taurus

  • Best viewed during: Winter



Locating the Crab Nebula is fairly easy during winter time with the peak of its visibility during the month January.

Being located in the Taurus constellation, the brightest star located in this constellation is Aldebaran, which is an orange giant star. To locate Aldebaran, you will have to locate Orion's belt and from there follow the line of the belt. It will be the first brightest star in the northwest side of Orion's belt.

Then follow the V-shape from Aldebaran towards Zeta Tauri which is the left horn of the Bull.

How to locate it

Crab Nebula is located in the constellation of Taurus which is also referred as a Bull. Messier 1 lies near the Southern horn of the Bull.

The star located at the end of the horn of the Bull is called Zeta Tauri.

In order to locate Zeta Tauri, you will first have to locate the star Aldebaran. It is the brightest star in the constellation of Taurus, located in the "head" of the Bull and has a yellowish color.

The Crab Nebula lies roughly 1 degree northwest of Zeta Tauri.

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