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Check Out These New, Gorgeous Hubble Telescope Shots of the Veil Nebula

Warning: this video may make you want to go to the Pink Floyd light show at your local planetarium.

by Rachel Pick
Sep 24 2015, 5:28pm

The Hubble Space Telescope has caught part of the famously voluptuous Veil Nebula in all its detailed glory.

The remains of a massive supernova from a star 20 times more massive than our sun that exploded 8,000 years ago, the Veil Nebula is 2,100 light-years away, in the constellation Cygnus. The gas-and-dust remnants of its explosion are still expanding into space, with the nebula now spanning 110 light-years across.

The short 3D flyover video creates the effect of traveling through the wispy skeins of gas, colored to correspond with different elements. There's also a zoom-in video that slowly spirals toward the nebula from a "backyard view."

The light emitted by the nebula is created by its blast wave colliding with a denser gas. NASA explains: "The bluish features, outlining the cavity wall, appear smooth and arched in comparison to the fluffy green and red structures. The red glow is from cooler gas that was excited by the shock collision at an earlier time and has subsequently diffused into a more chaotic structure."

NASA is now comparing these images with the ones taken by Hubble in 1997, to see how the nebula's form has changed in the last 18 years.