While appearing as a delicate and light veil draped across the sky, this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope actually depicts a small section of the Cygnus supernova blast wave, located around 2,400 light-years away. The name of the supernova remnant comes from its position in the northern constellation of Cygnus (the Swan), where it covers an area 36 times larger than the full Moon.

The original supernova explosion blasted apart a dying star about 20 times more massive than our Sun between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. Since then, the remnant has expanded 60 light-years from its center. The shockwave marks the outer edge of the supernova remnant and continues to expand at around 220 miles per second. The interaction of the ejected material and the low-density interstellar material swept up by the shockwave forms the distinctive veil-like structure seen in this image.

Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, W. Blair; acknowledgment: Leo Shatz

这张由美国宇航局/欧洲航天局哈勃太空望远镜拍摄的照片,看起来就像覆盖在天空上的精致而轻盈的面纱,实际上是天鹅座超新星爆炸冲击波的一小部分,位于大约2400光年之外。超新星残骸的名字来自于它在北天鹅座(天鹅星座)的位置,该区域的面积是满月的36倍。

1万到2万年前,最初的超新星爆炸将一颗濒死的恒星炸裂,其质量大约是太阳的20倍。从那时起,残骸已经从它的中心扩展了60光年。冲击波标志着超新星遗迹的外边缘,并继续以每秒220英里的速度膨胀。抛射出的物质与被冲击波扫掠的低密度星际物质的相互作用,形成了这张图中所见的独特的面纱状结构。

文字来源:ESA(欧洲航天局)
影像来源:ESA/Hubble & NASA, W. Blair; 致谢:Leo Shatz

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