For Star Trek fans like me, the above image reminds of “Nexus” from Star Trek: Generations – an extra-dimensional realm in which one’s thoughts and desires shape the reality around them. Unlike the movie, this is a real image of the Cygnus loop by the Hubble Space Telescope.
This stunning picture shows a small portion of a blast wave leftover from a supernova in Cygnus’s constellation. This dying star was 20 times more massive than our Sun and approximately 2,600 light-years away. Supernova explosion occurred between 10,000 to 20,000 light-years ago. Since then, the remnant has expanded 60 light-years from its center.
The shockwave marks the remnant’s outer edge and continues to expand at an incredible speed of around 350 kilometers per second. The distinctive veil-like structure that we see in the image results from the ejected material’s interaction with the low-density interstellar material swept up by the shockwave.
Below is a Hubble image of the Cygnus Loop supernova remnant from 1991.
An image of the famous Veil Nebula, which is inside the larger Cygnus supernova remnant.
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