New and old images of the Veil Nebula that were taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, show how the remains of a massive star explosion that took place eight millenniums ago, are still expanding through space.
This huge cloud of dust and gasses appeared after a stellar explosion, also known as supernova, took place eight thousand years ago.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990, and has been orbiting the earth ever since. According to NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute, the Hubble Telescope photographed the Veil Nebula which is part of another nebula named Cygnus Loop by the astronomers. The remnants of the Veil Nebula now cover an area that is about 36 times the apparent area of the full moon, or 6 times the diameter of the full moon.
Since the Hubble Space Telescope has very high resolution, the images can be seen in detail, Zoltan G. Levay, the leader of the imaging group, stated.
The Veil Nebula measures about two light-years, which is roughly 1.89210568 × 1013 kilometres or 1.17569996 × 1013 miles, clearly a colossal number. Our sun is about twenty times smaller than the star that exploded, creating the iridescent could, astronomers say. The light comes from cool interstellar gas that was formed after the explosion. The shock wave that sweeps he gas travels at about 1 million miles per hour, NASA says. That means that it could cover the distance from Earth to moon in about 15 minutes.
The scientists combined six photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in order to create the final product, a true work of art. The colours were highlighted, using extremely sensitive filters. The green colour comes from sulphur, the red colour comes from hydrogen, and the blue one comes from oxygen. The wavy shape of the gas cloud is due to several factors such as density and temperature.
The last time the Veil Nebula was photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope was in 1997. By analysing the old and new images, the astronomers found that the nebula has expanded since 1997.
“The shock wave is moving rather rapidly through this material. When we do compare those two observation we do see obvious motion in the material,” Dr. Levay stated.
Image Source: wikimedia