Hubble Revisits the Beautiful Veil Nebula

Posted on September 29, 2015

Veil Nebula 2015 Hubble image

Hubble has revisited the Veil Nebula, which is named for its colorful and delicate filamentary structures which span for about 110 light-years. The supernova remnant formed following the death of a star 8000 years ago. It is located about 2,100 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

The Veil Nebula was fist photographed by Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) in 1997. Now it has been photographed by Hubble's new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) 18 years later. The above section of the outer shell of the supernova remnant is a region called NGC 6960 or the Witch's Broom Nebula. You can find a hi-res version of the above image here.

Astronomers think the Veil Nebula's source star expelled a strong stellar wind before it exploded. This wind blew a large cavity into the surrounding interstellar gas. Once the star exploded the shock wave from the exploding star expands outwards and encounters the walls of the cavity, forming the structures and bright filaments. The shock wave is moving at a speed of 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) per hour.

Here is a stunning 3-D visualization that flies across a small portion of the Veil Nebula as photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope. The video shows gas emission from sulfur (red), hydrogen (green) and oxygen (blue). Take a look:

Photo: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team

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