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Hubble zooms in on remnants of Veil Nebula

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has captured stunning images of remnants of a massive star, the Veil Nebula.


Hubble zooms in on remnants of Veil Nebula
Credits: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

Washington: The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has captured stunning images of remnants of a massive star, the Veil Nebula.

The new set of images from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 reveal the tangled and still expanding remains of the supernova star that exploded 8,000 years ago.

Deriving its name from its delicate, draped filamentary structures, the beautiful Veil Nebula is one of the best-known supernova remnants.

The entire nebula is 110 light-years across, covering six full moons on the sky as seen from Earth, and resides about 2,100 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.

In 1997, Hubble photographed the Veil Nebula, providing detailed views of its structure.

Now, astronomers are comparing these new images of the Veil Nebula taken in April 2015 to the ones captured by Hubble in 1997 to study how the nebula has evolved over the last 18 years.

Hubble zoomed in on a small area of Veil Nebula measuring roughly two light-years across, revealing wisps of gas left over from the violent death of a star 20 times more massive than our sun.

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 blown into space by the dying star prior to its self-detonation.

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 blown into space by the dying star prior to its self-detonation.

The nebula resembles a crumpled bed sheet viewed from the side.

The supernova that created the Veil Nebula would have been briefly visible to our very distant ancestors about 8,000 years ago as a bright “new star” in the northern sky.

Source: NASA

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