A photograph published Monday by the European Southern Observatory depicts the aftermath of a big star’s explosive death and the enormous filaments of brilliantly sparkling gas sent into space during the supernova.
The star’s mass before exploding after its life cycle is estimated to have been at least eight times that of the sun. About 800 light years away from Earth, it was positioned in our Milky Way galaxy in the direction of the constellation Vela. 5.9 trillion miles is the distance that light travels in a year or a light year (9.5 trillion km).
In the frightening image, clouds of gas appear to be pink and orange tendrils in the scientists’ filters, covering an area around 600 times larger than the solar system.
“The gas released from the supernova explosion that produced this nebula is what makes up the filamentary structure. As a star enlarges itself in space, we may observe the inside stuff. According to astronomer Bruno Leibundgut of the European Southern Observatory, “some of the supernova material shocks with the surrounding gas and generates some of the filamentary structure when there are denser regions (ESO).
According to Leibundgut, the picture depicts the supernova leftovers around 11,000 years after the explosion.
Excited hydrogen atoms cause the majority of the material’s brilliance. Leibundgut continued, “The beauty of such photos is that we can immediately see what stuff was within a star. “The substance accumulated over countless millions of years is now exposed and will cool down over millions of years until it eventually forms new stars. These supernovae produce many elements — calcium or iron — which we carry in our bodies. This is a spectacular part of the path in the evolution of stars.”
In the wake of the explosion, the star itself has been reduced to a pulsar, an enormously dense rotating object. Neutron stars, one of the most compact celestial objects known to exist, include pulsars as a subtype. It spins at a rate of ten times per second.
The image was a composite of observations made with the wide-field OmegaCAM camera of the VLT Survey Telescope, housed at the Paranal Observatory of the European Southern Observatory in Chile. According to the ESO, the image’s data was gathered between 2013 and 2016.