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A Bone in the Crab A Mirror in the Crab The Wandering bone of the Crab Criticims and Replies Cocorico !


On September 19th, 2002 the STScI publishes on Internet a remarkable document. It is about a series of photographs, taken by the HST, and edited in the form of an animation showing the evolution of the center of the Crab in an interval of several months. (NASA/HST/ASU/J.Hester & al).
A zoom, opposite, of this animation, shows, among many other surprising phenomena, a wave which propagates from the heart of the Crab and which, as in a mirror, is divided into halves by a wave which propagates towards the heart.
A possible explanation is that it is a refractive effect on the edge of a bubble of expanding gas.
The complete Zoom (988 Kb) which is available Here, is an assembly of 23 images taken with intervals of 11 days; over a period of 8 months.

The Pulsar seen by the NOAO

The variation of distance Star - Pulsar as supplementary proof of this refringent effect.

We resumed the sequence realized by the NOAO with the camera KPCA. Then we aligned the first eight significant snapshots to be able to make comparative measurements of the distance separating the star from the pulsar.
The characters A, B, and C are used as marks to the three columns.
The eleven lines of every column are numbered from 0 to 10.

  1. We present here only the sequence A. But we could present the sequence B with equivalent results. In the sequence C, the pulsar is always switched off and however forbidden us to do any measurement.

  2. Then we measured, in every image, the distance in pixels between the star and the pulsar.

A00 A01 A02 A03 A04 A05 A06 A07
  • In the snapshots, the distance from the star to the pulsar is 45 pixels when the pulsar is "ON", and 55 pixels when the pulsar is "OFF". This variation in the distance is thus 10 pixels, equivalent to 20% of the distance, therefore approximately 2000 km.

  • We note that the variation of distance is synchronous with the jet and with the pulsar. The distance is minimal at the maximum flash of the pulsar.

  • The temporal distance between every image is 1 ms, thus the back and forth travel (4000 km) of the pulsar would be done in 5 ms (5 periods of the pulsar). Which gives an average speed of the order of 800.000 km/s. A speed absolutely incompatible with the laws of physics.

  • Thus it would be necessary to correct the distance calculated previously in the report by the factor 300,000 / 800,000 = 3/8. Which would give a distance:

D < 10000 (3/8) = 3700 Km

And a variation of distance < 500 Km

Wich over the time interval of 5 ms, is impossible, considering the mass of the pulsar and thus its inertia. Therefore it is necessary tu find an other explanation.

  1. Either this variation would be due to the deformation of the magnetosphère of the pulsar under the impact of the jet, which by far would give us the best illusion of this movement. That would resolve the problem of inertia induced by the mass of the pulsar, but it would then raise the problem of the magnetic inertia of the magnetosphere.

  2. Or it would be due to the acoustic shock wave coming from the impact of the jet. This shock wave provoking a local variation of gas density and thus a local variation of the refractive index, and consequently a modification of the magnifying power in the direction of the terrestrial observer.
    We favor this second hypothesis.  (Razor of Occam).



  • If this effect of refringence is real, then the hypothesis of the lens effect, which we had envisaged previously, becomes likely.

  • The waves that we see moving would be density waves propagating in a bubble of gas containing a density gradient.

  • This involves a gradient in the refractive index and waves of refractive index gradient in this gas bubble. (Optical Kerr Effect)

  • These waves of refractive index gradient are stacked one on top of the other. The set behaves then as a complex optical system whose overall magnification G is the product of the individual magnification of all the waves. It can express itself approximately by G = gN

  • The magnifying power of 0,5 108 which seemed totally impossible to explain thus finds a simple explanation.


The diagram, opposite, represents the global structure of the core of the Crab. We find there:

  1. In blue, the symmetrical jets shown by the HST and by CHANDRA.

  2. In brown, the périodic jet which we have pointed out*.

  3. In orange, the continuous jet which we have pointed out*.

  4. In red the companion star  from which arises this jet*.

  5. In yellow, the pulsar.


* See the previous page: The Bone of the Crab


The simulation, opposite, was realized by using the diagram above. It shows a number of refractive effects which can occur in a fluctuating and expanding bubble.

  • Below to the left the mirror effect.

  • The jets can be deformed (break). The big visible jet in the zoom is effectively broken.

  • Objects can be divided into halves. And it does seem to be the case of the pulsar.

 Other gas bubbles with index gradient: 3C 58 and Vela Pulsar ?   New

3C 58
3C 58 - Source Chandre 
Le Crabe
Pulsar Vela
Le pusar vela - Source : Judy Schmidt 
On 12/15/2004 Chandra publishes images of the Nebula 3C58 and compares them very appropriately with the Crab Nebula .
The structures are perfectly similar. 3C 58, which contains a pulsar of 66 ms, could thus be the second example of a gas bubble having properties of refractivity.
We can, in particular note the characteristic break of the main jet, and, in both cases, the density waves

In August 2014 is published a new image of the Vela pulsar, which brings up a quite similar structure. This is a previously image obtained by Chandra and then remarkably treated by Judy Schmidt. We thank and congratulate her for this work.


  1. This body of evidence certainly seems to prove this lens effect. However other observations are essential for validating definitively this hypothesis.

  2. The measure of the refractive index seems possible in different points in this bubble of gas. We should be able to deduce the density and the density gradient from it and, and consequently, the dimensions and the real distances separating the different objects situated in the heart of the Crab..

  3. To finish, we'll have to find a reason for this refractive index. Is it due, as it was supposed here, to the density of the gas in the heart of the Crab, or to the existence of magnetic fields in the strongly ionized plasma?

  4. The case of 3C 58 and Vela shows us that this phenomenon is not exceptional.

Documents :

  1. Jets et Systèmes binaires - Bernard Lempel. L'Astronomie Vol 117 - Sept 2003. SAF. (PDF=1.6 Mo)
    Jets and binary Systems - B. Lempel, but translated from French) (PDF, 588 Ko)

  2. Le pulsar du Crabe, Faits et Contradictions. (French)

  3. La lumière déviée par le vide quantique : la preuve dans un système de pulsars double ?

  4. Observing Quantum Vacuum Lensing in Magnetized Neutron Star Binary System

  5. http://fr.arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0504039
    Observing Quantum Vacuum Lensing in Magnetized Neutron Star Binary System.

  6. Sphere_a_gradient_indice.pdf A little of mathematics. (French)

  7. Vela Pulsar Jet: New Chandra Movie Features Neutron Star Action.

  8. Baffling pulsar leaves astronomers in the dark.  New  

Last release: 08/26/14  A Roaming Bone in the Crab: