Detail of the Veil Nebula
This image is a stunning close-up of the Veil Nebula - the shattered remains of a supernova that exploded some 5000 to 10 000 years ago. The image provides a beautiful view of the delicate, wispy structure resulting from this cosmic explosion. Also known as Cygnus Loop, the Veil Nebula is located in the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan, and is about 1500 light-years away from Earth.
This small portion of the Veil Nebula is located in the larger segment seen in its eastern part (the top left corner of the large ground-based overview image; see related images). The entire Veil Nebula spans about 3 degrees, corresponding to about 6 full Moons.
The image was taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) on board the Hubble Space Telescope. The colour is produced by composite of three different images taken at three different wavelengths using narrow filters centred at 502 nm ([O III]), 656 nm (Hα) and 673 nm ([S II]). The different colours indicate emission from the different kinds of atoms excited by the shock: blue shows oxygen, green shows sulphur, and red shows hydrogen.