NASA this week released images taken by the Hubble telescope showing the remnants of 8,,000-year-old supernova, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The supernova remaints, known as the Veil Nebula, was visible in the night sky thousands of years ago as what looked like a bright star outshining the others. What prehistoric people couldn’t see was that it was a star dying or exploding, a process known to scientists as a supernova. What’s left behind is what Hubble has captured.
The orbiting telescope captured an iridescent cloud of dust and debris in a shape that resembles a bridal veil — but this cloud is massive. It’s 110 light years across, or roughly 63,000 times the distance between the earth and the sun, the Chronicle reports. The new images are the most detailed ones ever seen.
“Astronomers are comparing these new images to ones taken by Hubble in 1997. This comparison allows scientists to study how the nebula has expanded since it was photographed over 18 years ago, ” a statement from NASA reads. “The supernova that created the Veil Nebula would have been briefly visible to our very distant ancestors about 8,000 years ago as a bright ‘new star’ in the northern sky.”
The videos below, posted to the Hubble’s and NASA’s YouTube accounts respectively, show a “flyover” detail of the nebula and a video zoom from earth to the nebula.