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The expansion of the Crab Nebula
Bietenholz, M. F.; Kronberg, P. P.; Hogg, D. E.; Wilson, A. S.
AA(Toronto, University, Canada), AB(Toronto, University, Canada), AC(National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, VA), AD(Maryland, University, College Park)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 373, June 1, 1991, p. L59-L62. Research supported by NSERC and University of Toronto. (ApJL Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Crab Nebula, Expansion, Radio Sources (Astronomy), Supernova Remnants, Emission Spectra, Relativistic Effects, Synchrotron Radiation
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Using high-resolution radio observations from 1982 and 1987 the expansion of the synchrotron component of the Crab Nebula was measured, including a measurement of the expansion of the nebula's outer edge. The measurements show a rate of expansion similar to that obtained from optical data for the line-emitting filaments. It is shown that the synchrotron component of the Crab expands homologously and that its rate of expansion has accelerated since the supernova explosion. The data further suggest that the acceleration of the synchrotron component may be larger than that of the emission-line filaments which, if confirmed by future observations, implies that the relativistic gas is currently bursting through the net of filaments. The absence of deceleration allows the establishment of stringent upper limits on the density of gas into which the observed nebula is expanding.

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