NASA unveils enhanced version of Hubble’s Veil Nebula image showing delicate threads and gas filaments from giant dead star 2,100 light-years from Earth
- Hubble first took a snapshot of the gaseous remnants of the exploded stars, the veil, in 2015 Haze
- New imaging techniques provide details of delicate threads and gas filaments that have never been seen
- Ionized hydrogen and nitrogen can be seen in red and the double ionized oxygen in blue
- Before the star exploded 10,000 years ago, it was 20 times the size of our sun
NASA has released an enhanced image of the Veil Nebula with more details about the filaments of ionized gas that gave it its name.
The Hubble Space Telescope originally captured photos of the Veil, the remains of a massive star that exploded more than 10,000 years ago, in 2015.
Located some 2,100 light-years from Earth, the debris is one of the best-known remains of a supernova.
Using new processing techniques, ionized hydrogen and nitrogen are shown in red, while doubly ionized oxygen is shown in blue.
The nebula continues to expand at about 932,000 miles per hour, and NASA says studying its composition can help us better understand its structure and how it interacts with the supernova’s shock wave.
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An enhanced image of the Veil Nebula shows finer details of delicate wires and filaments of ionized gas left over from a massive star that exploded more than 10,000 years ago. The image, originally taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2015, has been treated with new processing techniques
The Veil Nebula is the visible portion of the Cygnus loop, the remains of a star about 20 times the size of our sun that supernovae between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.
A nebula is the cloud of ionized gas and dust created when a star explodes.
The veil, about 110 light-years across, is about 2,100 light-years from Earth, “astronomically a relatively close neighbor,” NASA said.
It is one of the best-known supernova remnants, taking its name from its “ delicate, draped thread-like structures, ” the space agency said.
New processing techniques applied to the 2015 photo (right) reveal more details of ionized hydrogen and nitrogen, seen in red, and doubly ionized oxygen, seen in blue
“The fast-moving blast from the old blast plows against a wall of cool, denser interstellar gas and emits light.”
“The nebula lies along the edge of a large bubble of low-density gas that was blown into space by the dying star before self-detonating.”
In 2015, NASA first shared a photo of the Veil taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 along with five different filters.
Six snapshots were merged to form a single image.
This month, NASA distributed a refreshed version of that 2015 image using new technology to significantly improve details.
In the updated version, “ new processing techniques have been applied that bring out fine details of the nebula’s delicate wires and filaments of ionized gas, ” the space agency said.
The new image provides more details of doubly ionized oxygen, seen in blue, and ionized hydrogen and nitrogen, seen in red.
Because the nebula is still expanding, NASA said, “by studying these filaments and their compositions, we can better understand the structure of the cloud and how the supernova’s shock wave interacts with it.”
By comparing images of the Veil Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (pictured) in 1997 and 2015, astronomers calculated that it is expanding at a speed of 932,000 miles per hour
For example, by comparing images of the Veil Nebula taken in 1997 with snapshots from 2015, astronomers calculated that the Veil is expanding at a speed of 932,000 miles per hour.
According to NASA, first identified in 1784 by British astronomer William Herschel, the Veil Nebula can be seen by amateur astronomers when conditions are optimal.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 aboard the shuttle Discovery.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center operates the telescope in partnership with the European Space Agency.
The James Webb Space Telescope, expected to launch in October 2021, offers even greater infrared resolution and sensitivity than Hubble.
It is a collaboration between NASA, the ESA and the Canadian Space Agency.