The Cygnus Loop Nebula (Image: Nasa/Eyevine/Zuma Press)
It’s not certain just when the blast would have been visible on Earth; it occurred 5,000 to 8,000 years ago and in any event, it would have taken 1,500 years for its light to reach us. What is certain though is that the Cygnus Loop—here captured by the cameras aboard NASA’s Galaxy Evolution explorer—is a stunner. The nebula extends more than three times the size of the full moon in the night sky, and is tucked next to one of the ‘swan’s wings’ in the constellation of Cygnus. The filaments of gas and dust visible here in ultraviolet light were heated by the shockwave from the supernova, which is still spreading outward from the original explosion.
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