The Crab Nebula (M1) -- Located in the constellation Taurus
HOW TO FIND
THE CRAB NEBULA:
If what you're seeing is indeed beautiful but not particularly crustacean-esque, not to worry- you've found the Crab Nebula. The name is derived from William Parsons' 1884 sketch of the nebula, which was definitively crablike.
Notable Crab Tidbits
A stunning leftover from a violent supernova, the Crab Nebula is a bright nebula that bears the scientific name M1. The "M" refers to Charles Messier, the 18th-century astronomer who catalogued 103 "comet-like" objects, and the numbers correspond to the order in which Messier discovered and recorded them. These nebulae, star clusters, and other deep sky objects are today known as "Messier objects", and the Crab Nebula bears the distinction of being the first.
In 1054, astronomers in China and Arabia recorded details of the supernova that would go on to form the Crab Nebula. While it might be surprising that 11th-century astronomers could make such an observation, there were in fact many shrewd observers of the night sky then and well before this event. However, that this supernova, which took place about 6.5 light years away from Earth, was reportedly seen for 23 days in broad daylight and for nearly 2 years in the night sky suggests that no record of the event would be more surprising still.
Everything You Need To See The Crab Nebula
M42 & M13: courtesy of Tim Hunter and James McGaha, Grasslands Observatory at http://www.3towers.com; M31 & M45: courtesy of Herm Perez, http://home.att.net/~hermperez/default.htm; M8: courtesy of Bob Star, http://www.flickr.com/photos/52031391@N00/70287323 / CC BY 2.0
2009: The International Year of Astronomy
With the theme "The Universe, Yours to Discover," a United Nations agency is bringing astronauts, artists, scientists, academics, and others together during the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first observation of the heavens in 1609.
Spend some time reading these articles and you will dramatically improve your knowledge of telescopes to help you choose the one best for you.