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.

March 7, 1996

Rampaging Fronts of the Veil Nebula
Credit: J. J. Hester (Arizona State University), WFPC, HST, NASA

Explanation: A supernova explosion of a high-mass star results in fast moving blast waves. At the front of the waves shown above, ionized gas in the Veil Supernova Remnant rushes out from the explosion, sweeps up material, and breaks up many atoms into constituent ions and electrons. Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993 indicate that the blue shock wave was catapult away from the stellar explosion after the red shock wave and has yet to catch up to it in some regions. The Veil supernova remnant's has a very large angular size - six times the diameter of the full moon - and different parts of it are known as the "Cygnus Loop" and catalogue numbers NGC 6960, NGC 6979, NGC 6992, and NGC 6995.

Tomorrow's picture: The 76-Metre Lovell Radio Telescope

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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