Five to eight thousand years ago, a star died in the constellation Cygnus. It was briefly one of the brightest objects in the sky — a supernova can outshine whole galaxies. Then it became one of the prettiest: the Veil Nebula. And now, thanks to some spectacular imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope, we can take breif a virtual tour.
Though not exactly accurate — the simulation was created for visualization purposes — the spectacular flyby still lets us see some of the most intense and beautiful structures in the cosmos.
Hubble resolves tangled rope-like filaments of glowing gases. They have been shocked and heated by colliding with cooler, denser interstellar gas…It also highlights that the emission from different chemical elements arises from different layers of gas within the nebula. In the imagery, emission from Sulfur, Hydrogen, and Oxygen are shown in red, green, and blue, respectively.
But the fly though only shows a portion of the gaseous grave. And the rest is just as stunning. First, you have to find it. Another video from Hubble takes us deep into The Swan:
From there, you get images like this:
No matter how you look at the Veil Nebula, it doesn’t disappoint.
IMAGES: NASA, ESA, and F. Summers, G. Bacon, Z. Levay, and L. Frattare (Viz 3D Team, STScI); “Veil Nebula – NGC6960” by Ken Crawford, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons