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The Crab Nebula's dynamical age as measured from its northern filamentary jet

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We present a deep [O iii]4959,5007 image of the northern filamentary jet in the Crab Nebula taken with the 8.2-m Subaru telescope. Using this image and an image taken with the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) 4-m in 1988, we have computed proper motions for 35 locations in the jet. The results suggest that when compared to the main body of the remnant, the jet experienced less outward acceleration from the central pulsar's rapidly expanding synchrotron nebula. The jet's apparent expansion rate yields an undecelerated explosion date for the Crab Nebula of 1055 ± 24 CE, a date much closer to the appearance of the historic 1054 CE guest star than the 1120–1140 CE dates estimated in previous studies using filaments located within the remnant's main nebula. Our proper motion measurements suggest the jet likely formed during the 1054 supernova explosion and represents the remnant's highest velocity knots possibly associated with a suspected N–S bipolar outflow from the supernova explosion.
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Keywords: supernova remnants

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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