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Southern Crab Nebula

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Southern Crab Nebula
Emission nebula
Planetary nebula
The Southern Crab Nebula image taken by Hubble[1]
Credit: ESA, NASA, and STScI
Observation data: J2000 epoch
Right ascension14h 11m 52.06s[2]
Declination−51° 26′ 24.1″[2]
Distance7,000 ly (2,100 pc)[3] ly
Apparent magnitude (V)14.20[2]
Notable featuresHas a symbiotic star system at its center
DesignationsV852 Cen, Hen 2-104, IRAS 14085-5112, PN G315.4+09.4, Wray 16-147, 2MASS J14115206-5126241
See also: Lists of nebulae

The Southern Crab Nebula (or WRAY-16-47 or Hen 2-104) is a nebula in the constellation Centaurus. The nebula is several thousand light years from Earth, and its central star is a symbiotic Mira variable - white dwarf pair. It is named for its resemblance to the Crab Nebula, which is in the northern sky.

The Southern Crab was noted in a 1967 catalog, and was also observed using a CCD imager with the 2.2 meter telescope at the La Sila observatory in 1989.[4] The 1989 observation marked a major expansion of knowledge about the nebula, and it was observed using various filters.[4]

The nebula had already been observed using Earth-based telescopes,[4] but images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1999 have provided much more detail, revealing that at the center of the nebula are a pair of stars, a red giant and a white dwarf. It was imaged again by HST in 2019 with a newer instrument.

In 1999 it was imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2,[5] noted for its unique "stair-step" crop and for such astrophotos as the Pillars of Creation.

The WFPC2 images were taken at a optical light wavelength of 658 nm.[5]

The nebula was imaged again by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2019, and a set of images to celebrate the anniversary of the space telescope's launch in 1990 (29 years) by the Space Shuttle.[6] This time a newer camera the WFC3 was used to image the nebula, at wavelengths filters of about 502, 656, 658, and 673 nanometers.[7]

The designation He2-104 (or Hen 2-104) comes from the Henize catalog of 1967, Observations of Southern Planetary Nebulae.[8] The catalog includes 459 items identified as planetary nebula (or likely as such).[9] (note that in this meaning it does not imply exoplanets)

Another designation that it has been recorded for this object is WRAY-16-47.[10]

In 2008, an investigation of the Southern Crab with its symbiotic (astronomical term) star was published.[11] The study used imaging and spectroscopic data from space and Earth-surface telescopes including Hubble and VLT observatories.[11] The ESO defines a symbiotic star system as "binaries in which a small hot star (white dwarf or main sequence star) orbits around a red giant star. These systems are often surrounded by an envelope of gas or dust; those with gas are known as S-types and those with dust as D-types."[12]


  • Close up of the center of the Nebula
    Close up of the center of the Nebula
  • The Southern Crab Nebula in its entirety
    The Southern Crab Nebula in its entirety
  • Southern Crab Nebula – (18 April 2019;annotated)
    Southern Crab Nebula – (18 April 2019;annotated)
  • Southern Crab Nebula – (18 April 2019;Shape)
    Southern Crab Nebula – (18 April 2019;Shape)

See also


  1. ^ "Hubble Celebrates its 29th Birthday with Unrivaled View of the Southern Crab Nebula". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Hen 2-104". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg.
  3. ^ "The Southern Crab Nebula, a planetary nebula in Centaurus". Anne's Astronomy News. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Chiu, Liang-Tai George (August 1980). "Space Telescope Astrometry from CCD images". Celestial Mechanics. 22 (2): 191–196. doi:10.1007/bf01228806. ISSN 0008-8714.
  5. ^ a b "Southern Crab Nebula". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  6. ^ Hille, Karl (2019-04-18). "Hubble Celebrates 29th Anniversary with the Southern Crab Nebula". NASA. Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  7. ^ "The Crab of the Southern Sky". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  8. ^ "List of Common Deep Sky Catalogs". Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  9. ^ Henize, Karl G. (1967-04-00). "Observations of Southern Planetary Nebulae". The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. 14: 125. doi:10.1086/190151. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ 15677 - Spectroscopy and Imaging of the Southern Crab Nebul
  11. ^ a b "Hen 2-104: A close-up look at the Southern Crab". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  12. ^ "The "Southern Crab" Nebula". Retrieved 2019-09-18.

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Southern Crab Nebula
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