Monday, May 29, 2023

The Vela Supernova Remnant: Giant Cosmic Networks of Filaments | ESO

The Vela Supernova Remnant: Giant Cosmic Networks of Filaments | ESO

Sometimes dramatic events are needed to create something stunning. This beautiful structure of filaments and clouds in the southern constellation of Vela are all that remains of a massive star that died in a powerful explosion known as supernova. 

Even though bright stars populate this image, it is hard to not be captivated by the pink gaseous clouds filling up the frame. Some tiny, others thicker, the filaments stretch outwards like tentacles. As they intertwine and cling together, an intricate network is formed which mixes with blurred clouds. However, how did they come to be like this?

Around 11,000 years ago, a massive star exploded as a supernova, ejecting its outer layers. The explosion also generated shock waves which traveled outwards, compressing the gas around the star and creating the intricate network visible in the image. The result of such explosions are called supernova remnants. At 800 light years away from Earth, the Vela supernova remnant is one of the closest known to us.

At the center of the image, there is a pink network of filaments, which extends towards the right. Around it, filamentary orange clouds fill the space. Spread all over the picture, bright yellow, blue and reddish stars populate the image. The dark background is almost completely hidden by all these features.

This is a small section of a larger image taken using the wide-field camera OmegaCAM at the VLT Survey Telescope (VST). Hosted at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in the Chilean desert, the VST is one of the best telescopes in the world to take large images of the sky in visible light.

Credit: European Southern Observatory/VPHAS+ team

Acknowledgement: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

Release Date: May 29, 2023

#NASA #ESO #Astronomy #Space #Science #Stars #SupernovaRemnant #Vela #Constellation #MilkyWayGalaxy #Cosmos #Universe #Telescope #VST #OmegaCAM #ParanalObservatory #Chile #Europe #STEM #Education

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