NASA Hubble Space Telescope Reveals Stunning Veil Nebula in New Detail
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has zoomed in on some shrapnel from the remains of an exploding star. It's unveiled stunning detail of a small section of these expanding remains, which came from a star that burst 8,000 years ago.
Called the Veil Nebula, the debris is one of the best-known supernova remnants, deriving its name from its delicate, draped filamentary structures. The entire nebula is about 110 light-years across, covering six full moons on the sky as seen from Earth. It can be found about 2,100 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.
The new picture is actually a mosaic of six Hubble pictures of a small area that's roughly two light-years across, covering only a tiny fraction of the nebula's vast structure.
The new close-up reveals wisps of gas, which are all that remain of what was once a star that was 20 times more massive than our sun. Currently, the fast-moving blast wave from the ancient explosion is plowing into a wall of cool, denser interstellar gas, emitting light. The nebula lies along the edge of a large bubble of low-density gas that was blowing into space by the dying star prior to its self-detonation.
You can see an incredible array of structures and detail from the collision between the blast wave and gas and dust that make up the cavity wall. The nebula resembles a crumpled bed sheet viewed from the side. The bright regions are where the shock wave is encountering relatively dense material or where the "bed sheet" ripples are viewed edge-on.
Currently, astronomers are comparing these new images to ones taken by Hubble in 1997. These images, in particular, should reveal a bit more about the nebula.
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