Uncovering the Veil Nebula
The Veil Nebula from Vimeo. Click on arrows for full screen view.
When a star significantly heavier than our Sun runs out of fuel, it collapses and blows itself apart in a catastrophic supernova explosion. A supernova releases so much light that it can outshine a whole galaxy of stars put together.
The exploding star sweeps out a huge bubble in its surroundings, fringed with actual stellar debris along with material swept up by the blast wave. This glowing, brightly-coloured shell of gas forms a nebula: a supernova remnant. Such a remnant can remain visible long after the initial explosion fades away.
Scientists estimate that the supernova explosion occurred some 5000 to 10 000 years ago and could have been witnessed and recorded by ancient civilizations. These would have seen a star increase in brightness to roughly the brightness of the crescent Moon.
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