January 8, 2008—
Even after thousands of years, the violent death of a star is still lighting up the night sky in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.
Scientists today released this new wide-field image of Pickering's Triangle, part of a supernova remnant known as the Cygnus Loop.
Located about 1,500 light-years from Earth, the loop is an expanding shell of gas and dust spewed out as a giant star collapsed and then exploded about 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. The entire object, which also includes the well-known Veil Nebula
, stretches six to nine full moons across the sky.
Scientists unveiled the snapshot, taken using the Mayall Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas.
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Image by T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage/H. Schweiker/WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF