The Cygnus Loop Nebula


20,000 years ago there was a supernova explosion in the constellation of Cygnus. Its shockwave is still expanding into interstellar space. The impact of the fast moving wall of gas on a stationary cloud has heated it causing it to glow with visible light as well as high energy radiation. The result is the nebula known as the Cygnus Loop (NGC 6960/95). The colors in this Hubble Space Telescope image indicate emission from different kinds of atoms excited by the shock: oxygen-blue, sulfur-red, and hydrogen-green.

There’s a picture of the Cygnus Loop in UV here.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

The Cygnus Loop


20,000 years ago there was a supernova explosion in the constellation of Cygnus. Its shockwave is still expanding into interstellar space. The impact of the fast moving wall of gas on a stationary cloud has heated it causing it to glow with visible light as well as high energy radiation. The result is the nebula known as the Cygnus Loop (NGC 6960/95). The colors in this Hubble Space Telescope image indicate emission from different kinds of atoms excited by the shock: oxygen-blue, sulfur-red, and hydrogen-green.

There’s a picture of the Cygnus Loop in UV here.

Image Credit: NASA

Swan’s Way


These filaments of gas and dust visible in ultraviolet light were heated by the shockwave from a supernova which is still spreading out from the original explosion. The supernova which occurred between 5,000 and 8,000 years ago would have been bright enough to be seen clearly from Earth with the naked eye.

This ultraviolet image of the Cygnus Loop Nebula was taken by NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer. The Cygnus Loop extends across an area more than three times the size of the full moon in the night sky and is tucked next to one of the “wings” in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan.

Image Credit: NASA