BALTIMORE, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- New images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope reveal the tangled -- and still expanding -- remains of a supernova star that exploded 8,000 years ago.
Recently, Hubble zoomed in on an area of the Veil Nebula measuring two light-years across, highlighting colorful streams of gas left over from the violent death of a star 20 times more massive than the sun.
Echoes of the supernova continue to push hot gas outward, and as it plows into a blockade of cool, dense interstellar gas, light is emitted.
The Veil Nebula, which lies 2,100 light-years away within the constellation Cygnus, stretches 110 light-years across. On its periphery lies a bubble of low-density gas blown into interstellar space by the now-dead star, prior to its explosion.
The image of the stellar shrapnel is colored by NASA scientists to reveal the different types of gas: red for hydrogen, green for sulfur, and blue for oxygen.
The especially bright spots highlight the points of collision between the leftover shockwave and the nebula's resident gas and dust.
Astronomers at the the Space Telescope Science Institute are comparing current images of the nebula to images captured by Hubble in 1997. Researchers want to study how the nebula has evolved over the last 18 years.