Ten thousand years ago, before the dawn of
a new light would have suddenly have appeared in the
night sky and faded after a few weeks.
Today we know this light was from a
or exploding star,
and record the expanding debris cloud as the
Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant.
This sharp telescopic view is centered on a
segment of the
Veil Nebula cataloged as
NGC 6960 but less formally known as the Witch's Broom Nebula.
Blasted out in the cataclysmic explosion, the interstellar shock wave plows
through space sweeping up and exciting interstellar material.
Imaged with narrow band filters, the glowing filaments are
like long ripples in a sheet seen almost edge on,
remarkably well separated into atomic hydrogen (red)
and oxygen (blue-green) gas.
The complete supernova remnant lies about 1400
light-years away towards the
This Witch's Broom actually spans about 35 light-years.
The bright star in the frame is 52
visible with the unaided eye from
a dark location but unrelated to the ancient supernova remnant.