Between 5,000 and 8,000 years ago, a star many times more massive than our Sun met its end in a fantastic supernova explosion. The supernova remnant–the observable aftermath of that ancient star’s spectacular demise–is known as the Cygnus Loop. Not all of the radiation from the remnant is in the visual spectrum however–meaning our eyes can’t see the entire structure–but the portion that does fall within the visible spectrum is a popular target for professional and amateur astronomers and is commonly referred to as the Veil Nebula.
Cygnus Loop and Veil Nebula – Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), Digitized Sky Survey ((DSS) STScI / AURA, Palomar / Caltech, and UKSTU/AAO), and T.A. Rector (University of Alaska, Anchorage) and WIYN / NOAO / AURA / NSF
[Left] – This is a sky survey image of the Veil Nebula, a 110-light-year-wide expanding remnant of a star that exploded about 8,000 years ago in the constellation Cygnus.
[Center] – This is a ground-based telescope image of a 15-light-year-long stretch of the eastern portion of the nebula.
[Right] – This image shows a two-light-year-wide segment of the remnant as photographed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble resolves tangled rope-like filaments of ...