NGC 1952 M1 The Crab Nebula

The famous Crab Nebula (Figure 7.10) is another celestial sight likely to disappoint in the suburbs.

Figure 7.9. IC 418: a video frame: intensifier; b drawing: intensifier.

Years ago, I was seldom able even to locate it, but patience and persistence will be found to be a virtue with this object, and on unusually clear nights it may astound you. In such conditions, and using a narrowband filter, the resemblance to well-known photographs is unmistakable, and I have been able to discern surprising amounts of the fine outer tendrils that the "Crab" is famous for. It can be seen somewhat more vaguely with intensification, but interestingly, much more successfully via video monitor than with direct viewing; the video frame here seems quite remarkable to me, especially since the famous neutron star at its center is quite evident. However, because of its low inherent brightness, it remains a challenge to be easily certain of its exact outline, all the more so when trying to draw it. Pick your night carefully, and be patient.

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