Image of the Day: The Pencil Nebula Supernova


At 500,000 kilometers per hour, a supernova shockwave known as the Pencil Nebula, or NGC 2736 races through interstellar space. This shockwave is part of the Vela supernova remnant, an expanding shell of a star that exploded about 11,000 years ago. Initially the shockwave was moving at millions of kilometers per hour, but the weight of all the gas it has swept up has slowed it considerably. Pictured above, the shockwave moves from left to right, as can be discerned by the lack of gas on the left. The above region spans nearly a light year across, a small part of the 100+ light-year span of the entire Vela supernova remnant. The Hubble Space Telscope ACS captured the above image last October.

Imgae Credit: Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), W. Blair (JHU) & D. Malin (David Malin Images), NASA


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