Hubble images show delicate wisps of starstuff
| larger|| |
The Veil Nebula, as seen by ground-based telescopes and a detail image (inset) obtained by the Hubble
BALTIMORE (CNN) -- The European Space Agency debuted new Hubble Space Telescope images Tuesday showing incredibly fine wisps of gas threading through space -- remnants of a massive stellar explosion.
The images focus on a portion of the Veil Nebula, which is part of the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. This area, also called the Cygnus Loop, was the site of a supernova that occurred 5,000 years ago. A supernova happens when a star explodes and clouds of glowing gas shoot through space at high rates of speed.
The gauzy wisps in the Hubble image are actually thin streams of this glowing gas.
| INTERACTIVE |
| MESSAGE BOARD|
Astronomers who wish to better understand how stars die and how supernovas play out say they are particularly interested in studying this supernova because it occurred so recently -- in cosmic terms.
Indeed, they say the supernova would have put on an "awesome"
astronomical show for early civilizations. The explosion would have been as bright as a crescent moon, and might have even been visible during the day.
Hubble reveals secrets of a celestial 'Blob'
October 9, 2000
Young stars belch fiery gas in Hubble time-lapse movies
September 21, 2000
Nebulous 'Spirograph' astounds Hubble astronomers
September 11, 2000
Hubble watches cosmic 'butterfly' emerge
September 5, 2000
Space Telescope Science Institute
HubbleSite - Team Hubble
NASA K-12 Internet: Live from the Hubble Space Telescope
European Space Agency
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.