New photo of the Veil Nebula shows incredible detail


The NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope has republished an image of the Veil Nebula that it originally presented in 2015. This time, many more details have been made visible thanks to new processing techniques.

What Digital trends The photo reportedly shows the Veil Nebula, the debris of what NASA describes as one of the best-known supernova remnants. The start that went supernova is estimated to be 20 times larger than Earth’s sun. Its name is derived from the “delicate and draped filamentous structures”. The entire nebula is 110 light-years across, which would cover six full moons in the sky as seen from Earth. It resides in the constellation Cygnus, about 2,100 light years distant.

“The Veil Nebula’s progenitor star, which was 20 times the mass of the Sun, lived fast and died young, ending its life with a cataclysmic release of energy. Despite this stellar violence, shock waves and supernova debris sculpted the delicate tracery of ionized gas in the Veil Nebula, creating a scene of striking astronomical beauty, ”says the European Space Agency (ESA).

The photo is a mosaic of six photos captured by Hubble in a small area of ​​the nebula (about two light years in diameter) and thus only covers a small fraction of the entire structure of the nebula. The original image uploaded in 2015 can be seen below:

While good, it has a significantly lower resolution than the new process, and the colors and details of the nebula’s structure are much less defined. You can see that below:

The level of detail is extraordinary, as this enlarged crop of the photo shows.

“Astronomer William Herschel identified the Veil Nebula in 1784. His work was followed by the 1904 discovery of the weakest part of the nebula, by the discovery of a weaker portion of the nebula, known as Pickering’s Triangle ( in honor of the director of the Harvard University Observatory, where Fleming worked) “, writes ESA. “The Veil Nebula is best seen in early fall from the northern hemisphere (early spring in the southern hemisphere). About magnitude 8, the nebula is not visible to the naked eye, but can be seen through a telescope or even binoculars under a dark sky. A nebula filter will help brighten the Veil’s appearance and bring out its faint features. “

The full image can be downloaded here (warning, the file is quite large).

“To create this colorful image, the observations were taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 instrument using five different filters,” writes ESA. “New post-processing methods have further improved the details of the emissions of doubly ionized oxygen, ionized hydrogen, and ionized nitrogen.”

Ionized oxygen is represented in blue in the image above, while ionized hydrogen and nitrogen appear in red.

The Veil Nebula was also recently featured as part of Hubble’s Caldwell Catalog, which is a collection of astronomical objects that have been imaged by Hubble and are visible to amateur astronomers in the night sky.


Image credits: ESA / Hubble and NASA, Z. Levay



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