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For those of you who have an interest in astronomy, as I do, it is claimed that the Crab Nebula was first seen in the night sky as a very bright light by Chinese astronomers on July 4th, 1054. That bright light was the super nova of a star that was located in the Taurus constellation and about 6,300 light years away from our World. That super nova was so bright that it could be seen in daylight for as long as three weeks before it faded from view.

As it happens, further evidence of the super nova was found within the rock art of the Anastasie People who lived within places that we know as Arizona and New Mexico, within the United States of America. That art is dated to being created about a thousand years ago. Then again, the light caused by that super nova took an estimated 6,300 years to reach to Earth, which means that the super nova actually took place more than 6,300 years before the Chinese and the Indians saw that light.

The Crab Nebula is the result of that super nova. It contains the gaseous atmosphere that once was around that star. The nebula was named for the fact that the remnants of the star is in the shape of a crab, the size of which is about 10 light years across.

In 1844 that formation in the night sky was named the Crab Nebula by the Irish astronomer, William Parsons. However that gaseous cloud was known to many other astronomers prior to 1844 but it was not officially named.

Be that as it may, the British astronomer, John Be Vis, is given credit for first seeing the Crab Nebula in 1731. As luck would have it, a French astronomer, Charles Messier, also discovered the Crab Nebula in 1758. Since those Countries were independent from each other, the discovery of John Be Vis was unknown by the French.

Then again, Charles Messier believed that the formation might be a comet. However, after observing the formation for about two weeks he realized that he was wrong in his assumption, due to the lack of independent motion on the part of the formation. As a result of that observation and many of his other observations of similar formations, Messier created a catalog which he named "Catalog of Nebulae and Star Clusters." The Crab Nebula was cataloged as being M 1, being the first Messier cataloged item included in the group.

If you research for the above named astronomers you will learn a whole lot about how the science of astronomy came into being. Yes, there are a host of noted and/or famous astronomers who made many contributions to the astronomical knowledge of Mankind.

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