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It is in an Infernal Nebulae !

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The first one, in the Messier catalog of nebulaes, with a distance from us of approximately 6300 ly, the Crab (M1) is probably one of the most observed objects by astronomers. This nebulae, also called SN 1054 or 1054 AD, is the residual of a supernovae having exploded in July 1054, and which the Chinese astronomers observed at this time for close to one month. It was visible in broad daylight. Today it has an extension of about 10 ly. Observations revealed numerous peculiarities. Either is the presence, in its core, of a pulsar, a neutron star, whose brightness varies at the rate of 30 throbs per seconds. (period = 33 ms).
Let's examine the recent photographs in high resolution gotten by ESO at VLT and by the NOAO.

The Crab seen by the VLT
The Crab nebulae - Source: VLT

Achieved at the VLT (The Crab Nebula in Taurus) this spectacular photograph is of excellent quality. The pulsar is situated close to the center. But a trained eye is necessary to locate it among the numerous stars that one finds there. Let's note that it is about a long exposure, the pulsar appears therefore like a normal star although very luminous. Also note the presence of very luminous gases and long filaments of red color.

 The Crab seen by the NOAO
The Crab nebulae - Source: NOAO

The NOAO  achieved, with the 3,5 m WIYN telescope, an excellent photograph, as good as that of the VLT.
It is while examining these two pictures that I met a third document achieved by the NOAO. And it is this document, below, that incited me to have a closer look at the pulsar.

The Pulsar seen by the NOAO
33 photos of the Crab pulsar - Source NOAO

This extraordinary sequence of pictures of the pulsar was taken with a Photon-Counting Camera (KPCA), which allowed an exceptional time resolution. The movie, below, was achieved while taking two characteristic pictures of the sequence, the first one showing the OFF state, the second one the ON state of the pulsar. Obviously we could have some more.

Crab Pulsar animation (Source NOAO)

The NOAO presents the complete sequence under MPEG and MOV formats. I recommend you to watch attentively this animation. Here is in Downloadable ZIP compressed format.

The Sounds of Pulsars
The Crab Pulsar - Source: Jodrell Bank Observatory

The Jodrell Bank Observatory determined the brightness curve, in radio waves, of the pulsar. The period of recurrence is 33 ms, and the duration of the luminous pulse is about 3 ms.

Some Pulsar spectrums
Some pulsar spectrums, of which that of the Crab.

   §  Compared Spectrums of some pulsars.
This variation of luminosity was observed in all the electromagnetic spectre, from radio waves, to Gamma radiations.
Another peculiarity of the Crab pulsar is that in the whole of the spectre, the pulses are synchronous and in phase. (See in the left column of the figure opposite).
In our knowledge, it seems that the Crab pulsar is the only one which presents this peculiarity.

Pulses of the Crab pulsar - Source: ESO (VLT)

The VLT recorded, in visible light, the variations of luminosity of the pulsar..
The curious temporal asymmetry of the pulsar, which we observe here, is very difficult to explain with a model of symmetric and axi-polar luminous spot light stemming from a rotative neutron star.

The Good Question What Makes the Crab Pulsar Shine?


  • A "luminous bridge" appears at every maximum of brightness of the pulsar.

  • This bridge joins the pulsar with the star that is next to it.

  • The distance separating the pulsar and this star varies. The distance is maximum at minimal luminosity.

  • Is this bridge an instrumental artifact ?

  • Can one confirm by other observations the reality of these facts, and so to eliminate the hypothesis of artifacts ?

  • What distance separates these two stars ?

  • Is the variation of distance an optic illusion or an artifact ?

The Crab pulsar and its environment - Source ESO (VLT)

To reply to the first two questions we did a Digital Processing on the high resolution picture gotten by the ESO.
The result is clear, there seems to be a bridge between the two stars. But as the time exposure is long, the picture of the bridge is the sum of all instantaneous bridges that occurred during this exposure. (The pulsar is the star at the bottom). One notes that:

  • The bridge of matter continues beyond the pulsar.

  • Two plumes of matter, issued from the second star, are clearly visible.

The Crab pulsar (Source ESO-VLT) DP by B. Lempel.
The Crab pulsar (Source NOAO) DP by B. Lempel

The same work done on the high resolution picture provided by the NOAO confirms fully this result. (The pulsar is the picture centered star, opposite.). Notice that:

  • The bridge of matter continues, here also, beyond the pulsar, in the shape of a jet.

  • It shows apparently a very characteristic shock wave, in blue in the digital processed picture issued from the one of the NOAO, its wavelength is increasing while moving away of the source, that could be the pulsar.

  • The symmetrical ejections of matter issued from the second star are, here also, visible.

  • In the sequence of pictures gotten with the KPCA the bridge of matter never appears in the OFF state. That eliminates an edge effect due to the camera, else it would be necessary to admit a variable edge effect according to the brightness of the observed object, that is not likely.


The bridge of matter is not an instrumental artifact. This is not either a digital processing artifact. We have three different documents which confirm this bridge:

  1. The sequence of the camera KPCA ( NOAO)

  2. The High resolution picture made by the VLT on which a digital processing puts in evidence.

  3. The High resolution picture made by the NOAO on which a processing puts in evidence.

Then it is a very real fact and it is probably a periodic axi-planar jet that cannot be confused with a hypothetical axi-polar jet that would be pointed periodically toward the observer.

The Little Bone

The Distance:

To evaluate the distance between the two stars we can use as a first standard, the extension of the Crab nebula on the order of 10 ly. It supposes two combined conditions:

  1. That the two stars are in the nebula.

  2. That the two stars are not too distant from a perpendicular plan in relation to the visual sighting axis of the observer.

The fact that these two stars are linked by a bridge of matter confirms to these hypotheses. While measuring on pictures the distance between the two stars and comparing it to the extension of the nebula one gets a distance of an order of  0.13 ly.
Another appraisal method is possible. Nothing can exceed the speed of light, therefore if this jet is a relativistic plasma projected toward the pulsar, and knowing the period of this one, one can establish a maximal distance of propagation. The calculation gives a maximal distance less than 10000 km. On the other hand the problem would not change if it is the light of the pulsar that, periodically, illuminate a permanent jet.

  • The distance of 0.13 ly eliminates immediately and definitely the possibility that the pulsar is due to an unbalanced axi-polar jet in relation with the rotating axis of the pulsar and illuminating periodically and instantaneously the observer and the whole of the jet on a distance of 0.13 ly. (The necessary minimal time is the order of 45 days).

  • This second value of distance is completely incompatible with the first one.

  • The observation that shows this quasi simultaneity, compel us to accept the second value: D < 10000 km.

  • It is necessary to solve this contradiction on the distance separating the pulsar to its linked star.


The Big Bone


Variations of distances and adjustment of the distance.

  • On snapshots the distance between the star and the pulsar is 45 pixels at the ON state. It is 55 pixels just before the OFF state. The variation of distance is therefore 10 pixels. This variation represents 20% of the distance, i.e. 2000 km.

  • The round-trip journey (4000 km) of the pulsar would be done therefore in 33 ms (period of the pulsar) which gives a medium speed of the order of 1200000 km/sec. absolutely incompatible with laws of the physics.

  • Therefore it is necessary to correct the previously calculated distance in the report 300000 / 1200000 either 1/4. That gives a distance:

D < 2500 km

 and a variation de distance < 500 km.

  • The contradiction of distances worsened again.

  • Worse, this distance is incompatible with what one knows about the physical sizes of stars. It is the second contradiction to solve. Therefore It is necessary to admit that the two stars are a couple of small sized neutrons stars.

  • How can the pulsar, considering its mass, undergo a variation of distance of 500 km in some ms? Thus, the problem of the inertia is put.

  • Worse again, how can the terrestrial telescopes have a sufficient resolution to solve sizes as weak at distance of 6300 ly, that the Crab?

Obvious diameter of the pulsar

The curve of variation of the brightness of the pulsar established by The Jodrell Bank Observatory allows estimation of the obvious diameter of the pulsar. If the width of the impulse corresponds to the time of relativistic propagation of the energy (plasma and/or light) around the pulsar, the length of the impulse is then an enough correct measure of the diameter of the pulsar.

  • The width of the impulse is the order of 3 ms. Therefore the diameter is the order of 3c/1000 i.e. 900 km.

  • It is not incompatible with the theoretical diameter of a pulsar that is estimated at 20 km, but however at the condition that the diameter so measured corresponds to the diameter of a magnetosphere surrounding this pulsar.

  • The fluctuation of distance (500 km) is then explained by the distortion of this magnetosphere under the impact of the jet issued from the star linked to the pulsar. What would resolve all the problems of inertia which would have arised if it was the pulsar which moved of this distance under the impact of the jet! But it raises the inertial problem of the magnetism of the pulsar.


There are three solutions to solve contradictions of distances, the last two being compatible between:

  1. The maximum speed, the one of light, could be exceeded in certain conditions. But until there is proof of this hypothesis must be evidently, rejected.

  2. The distance and the extension of the Crab nebulae have been overvalued. Although always possible, it is unlikely; numerous measures, by various methods, confirmed this distance.

  3. There is a lens effect (gravitational or optic) in the core of this nebulae. The coefficient of magnification would be then in the ratio of distances, 0.13 al / 2500 km, either  5.108. It seems completely unrealistic. But if it were the case, then the picture of the pulsar and the companion star would be actual  pictures. In fact, the attentive exam of the Digital Processed picture, gotten from the picture descended of the VLT, unexpected detail which may not be artifacts. I let you to discover them. Let's note that details appear out of the central saturated areas of stars. A photograph redone with one very short exposure time is therefore desirable. These details suggest to solar coronaleses ejections.

  Bernard Lempel , January 21st, 2002


  1. The pulsar is a constituent of a system of dual stars.

  2. A jet, stemming from the star partner, is periodically thrown towards the pulsar.

  3. At the impact, the pulsar is illuminated.

  4. This jet, probably constituted of warm particles (Protons and/or electrons), behave as a serie of continuous electric shocks in a gas.

  5. The pulsar is, like the earth, very certainly decked out with a magnetosphere and by an "atmosphere". It is the deformation of the magnetosphere, under the pressure of the jet, that gives the illusion of the movement of the pulsar.

  6. The jet propagates beyond the pulsar in the form of a collimated jet.

  7. The mechanism is the same as the one that we have already met in the core of the galaxy M 87 (Auto regulated system with a massive object in suspension in a jet and magnification of the forces by a magnetic sun sail). But here we are in the presence of a relaxing system. This allows explaining very simply the temporal asymmetry, which is revealed by the VLT.

A second system of double stars, also containing a Jet, in the Crab?

Source: ESO (VLT) The Crab pulsar and its environment - Source ESO (VLT)

  1. The attentive exam of the HR image of the center of M1, plus its DP reveal the existence of a second couple of stars generating a jet.

  2. This couple of stars (neutrons stars?) do not form any pulsar.

  3. Thus it is a continuous jet, but it presents an inexplicable curvature by a simple "side wind".

Source VLT - DP by B. Lempel

In the following page, (A Mirror in the Crab) we show how and why the hypothesis of the lens, that we evoked above, is not only possible but that it is also, in spite of appearances, likely.

Bibliography :

  1. Jets et Systèmes binaires - Bernard Lempel. L'Astronomie Vol 117 - Sept 2003. SAF. (PDF=1.6 Mo)

  2. The same, Jets and binary Systems - B. Lempel, but translated from French) (PDF, 588 Ko)

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

  4. Cluster, Explosions, Plasmoids, Ion Beams - Report on 7th Cluster Workshop (ESA 15-Mar-2004) The mechanism of relativist jets is observed

  5. Modèles d'avalanche des sous-orages géomagnétiques. (GRPS)  and finally explained ?

  6. Tutorial on Supernovae, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Supernova of Kepler of October 1604, organised by Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (IAP). (Excellent Report wrote by Dr. Jean-Pierre Martin).

  7. The Mouse that soared G359.23-0.82: A great confirmation by Chandra of the structure and the mechanism of pulsars (Stellar wind + Magnetosphere + Jet).

  8. Suzaku Discovery of Hard X-ray Pulsations from the Rotating Magnetized White Dwarf, AE Aquarii. A white dwarf disguised as a pulsar (Another binary system)  New


 Last release: 03.06.16 

 A Mirror in the Crab :