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M1 is a supernova remnant, almost certainly the cloud of debris cast off by a star in the constellation Taurus observed as a supernova in July 1054. Within our own galaxy, the supernova would have been a brilliant object to the Chinese who recorded it. It is expanding at the rate of about 600 miles per second, however at over 6000 light years away the expansion is not visible. M1 was named Nebula 1 by Messier, who recorded it while looking for the comet of 1758. He felt it looked sufficiently comet like to be confused with the real thing, and when you compare the photograph with that of the embyonic Hale Bopp and make allowances for Messier's inferior optics, he was right.