Vid NASA has released spectacular new photos of a massive star's remnants, dubbed Veil Nebula, following an ancient supernova explosion.
Boffins captured the images with the Hubble Space Telescope to show off the debris of the gigantic star, which exploded roughly 8,000 years ago when the supernova that created the Veil Nebula would have been briefly visible to our very distant ancestors as a stunning "new star" in the northern sky.
When seen from Earth, the entire nebula covers six full moons on the sky, NASA said. It is 110 light-years across and located about 2,100 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.
The US space agency knitted together six Hubble pictures to create a mosaic of a tiny section of the nebula, roughly two light-years across.
In this image, red corresponds to the glow of hydrogen; green from sulphur; and blue from oxygen. The bluish features, outlining the cavity wall, appear smooth and arched in comparison to the fluffy green and red structures. The red glow is from cooler gas that was excited by the shock collision at an earlier time and has subsequently diffused into a more chaotic structure.
A few thin, crisp-looking red filaments arise after gas is swept into the shock wave at speeds of nearly 1 million miles an hour, so fast that it could travel from Earth to the moon in 15 minutes.
Astronomers are comparing these new images to ones taken by Hubble in 1997. This comparison allows scientists to study how the nebula has expanded since it was photographed over 18 years ago.