Messier 1 (Crab Nebula)

Location:  Constellation Taurus
Coordinates:  05 34 31.94 +22 00 52.2
Distance: ~6,500 ly

Mainstream description
Remnant of a supernova explosion observed in 1054 A.D.  It emits radiation in multiple wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum and is the strongest source of X-rays and gamma rays in the night sky.  It emits this radiation in a double pulse with a frequency of 30.2 Hz. The radiation is emitted from a pulsar, a rotating neutron star, in the center of the nebula that is spinning at a rate of just over 30 times per second.  It projects twin beams of radiation as it rotates, much like a lighthouse.  These rotating beams energize the nebula and account for its brightness and frequency across multiple wavelengths.

Alternative description
A stellar-scale plasma discharge forming jets and rings of highly energized particles inside the boundaries of a diocotron instability.  Plasma accelerated away from the point of discharge emits synchrotron radiation and reveals the dynamics of the powerful magnetic field that formed the nebula.  The pulsation of these emissions are oscillations caused by resonant effects present in electric circuits.

Messier 1 (Crab Nebula)Shannon Sims