Trippy nebula captured in brilliant new Hubble image


About 2,000 light years from Earth are the brilliant remnants of the explosive death of a star, called a supernova. And NASA just released an incredibly detailed look at it.

The Veil Nebula is a colorful, almost psychedelic span of plasma dispersed into space after a star roughly 20 times the size of our own sun exploded about 10,000 years ago. Only a small portion of the nebula is visible in the Hubble Space Telescope image shared Friday. Zoom in on the photo on the NASA site for a closer look. 

The new image is an updated look at the same patch of the nebula that was captured in 2015. This time, post-processing allowed for a sharper image and better defined colors. The blues emit from double ionized oxygen gas and the reds are ionized nitrogen gas.

The sweeping entirety of the western side of the Veil Nebula has been captured with ground telescopes, as seen below. The pop-out of a previous close-up image provides a sense of scale. 

The western portion of the Veil Nebula, also known as Caldwell 34, with a more detailed pop out overlaid.

The western portion of the Veil Nebula, also known as Caldwell 34, with a more detailed pop out overlaid.

Image: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and the Digitized Sky Survey 2; Acknowledgment: J. Hester (Arizona State University) and Davide De Martin (ESA/Hubble)

Thanks to its large size and relatively close proximity, the Veil Nebula can be viewed by amateur astronomers, even with binoculars if the conditions are good. It was first identified by the prolific astronomer William Herschel in 1784.



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