Herschel image of the Crab Nebula
This image shows the Crab Nebula, an iconic supernova remnant in our Galaxy, as viewed by ESA's Herschel Space Observatory. A wispy and filamentary cloud of gas and dust, the Crab Nebula is the remnant of a supernova explosion that was observed by Chinese astronomers in the year 1054.
This image is based on data taken with the PACS instrument on board Herschel, at a wavelength of 70 microns. At these long wavelengths, astronomers can detect the glow from cosmic dust present in the nebula.
While studying the dust content of the Crab Nebula with Herschel, a team of astronomers have detected emission lines from argon hydride (ArH+), a molecular ion containing the noble gas argon. This is the first detection of a noble-gas based compound in space.