Uncovering the Veil Nebula

This image shows a small portion of the Veil Nebula - the shattered remains of a supernova that exploded some 5-10,000 years ago. The intertwined rope-like filaments of gas result from the enormous amounts of energy released as the fast-moving debris from the explosion ploughs into its surroundings and creates shock fronts. These shocks, driven by debris moving at 600,000 kilometres per hour, heat the gas to millions of degrees. It is the subsequent cooling of this material that produces the brilliantly coloured glows.

This portion of the Veil Nebula is located in a magnificent part of the Veil known as the Witch's Broom Nebula to the east (to the right in the overview image). The entire structure spans about 3 degrees, corresponding to about 6 full moons. The bright blue star - dubbed 52 Cygni and unrelated to the supernova explosion - can be observed with the naked eye on a clear summer's night.

The image was taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) on board the Hubble Space Telescope. The colour is produced by composite of three different images. The different colours indicate emission from different kinds of atoms excited by the shock: blue shows oxygen, green shows sulphur, and red shows hydrogen.

Credit:

NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Acknowledgment: J. Hester (Arizona State University)

About the Image

Id:heic0712a
Type:Observation
Release date:31 July 2007, 15:00
Related releases:heic0712
Size:1493 x 751 px

About the Object

Name:Cygnus Loop, NGC 6960, Veil Nebula
Type:• Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Supernova Remnant
Distance:1500 light years
Constellation:Cygnus

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Coordinates

Position (RA):20 45 40.14
Position (Dec):30° 59' 17.02"
Field of view:2.48 x 1.25 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 84.8° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
Oiii
502 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
Sii
673 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
H-alpha
656 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2

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