Cygnus Loop (Veil Nebula)


High resolution, png format.


This image is the result of about 12 hours of exposure time, from my Pleasant Hill observatory. It is a huge area of nebulosity, about 120 light years in diameter, called the Cygnus Loop – also known as the Veil Nebula. The beautiful stranded filaments you see are the remnants of an exploding star. The star is thought to have been about 15 times more massive than our sun, resulting in an explosion so bright that it would have appeared to our distant ancestors, more than 22,000 years ago, as bright in the sky as the planet Venus. The area seen in this photo includes three distinct nebula formations – from top to bottom, these are known as the Western Veil, Pickering’s Triangle and the Eastern Veil.