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Remains of a Massive Star
Where once there was a massive star shining there nw exists this beautiful
emission nebula - the bright part is called the Veil Nebula. Unlike the
Orion Nebula featured last month this nebula is a supernova remant associated
with the end of a massive star. Stars many times more massive than our sun
end their existence in a powerful explosion called a supernova - essentially
the interior of the star is no longer able to suppor the massive overlying
weight of the star and the star tears itself apart in a massive explosion.
The shock wave from this explosion moves off into interstellar space,
sweeping up material and distributing it into a supernova remnant.
The filamentary structure seen in the image iscaused by viewing sheets of
material edge-n. The colors are caused by different atoms, like hydrogen and
oxygen, glowing at different wavelengths.
This image is actually a mosaic of four images. The size of the nebula is
about six times the width of the full Moon on the sky.