Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2016 April 25
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Supernova Remnant Simeis 147: The Spaghetti Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Giuseppe Donatiello (Italy) and Tim Stone (USA)

Explanation: It's easy to get lost following the intricate strands of the Spaghetti Nebula. A supernova remnant catalogued as Simeis 147 and Sh2-240, the glowing gas filaments cover nearly 3 degrees -- 6 full moons -- on the sky. That's about 150 light-years at the stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. This sharp composite includes image data taken through a narrow-band filter to highlight emission from hydrogen atoms tracing the shocked, glowing gas. The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth about 40,000 years ago. But the expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original star's core.

Tomorrow's picture: space condor

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