The Hubble telescope has managed to capture a spectacular view of the Veil Nebula, a set of shimmering tendrils of plasma from an ancient star that died and exploded as a supernova around 8,000 years ago.
The images show a zoomed-in section of the Veil Nebula revealing the detailed beauty left after the massive explosion.
"The expanding remnant of that blast can be seen as the Cygnus Loop, a donut-shaped nebula that is six times the apparent diameter of the full moon," the Hubble team wrote.
The Veil Nebula is perhaps the best known supernova remnant and features hot plasma around 110 light-years across. The nebula itself is found around 2,100 light-years away.
The image is made up of six images stitched together and only spans around 2 light-years. Despite this, zooming in this much offers an extremely detailed look at the Veil Nebula.
The brightest components of the nebula are caused by the supernova's shockwave, which is travelling through space and blasting into the edge of a cavity of cool interstellar gas. When we see this from the side, the crumpled structure of the bubbles, which are expanding, looks like a bright glow of colors.
Not only that, but colors correspond to heat. Parts of the image that appear blue, for example, are hotter than those appearing red or green.
Of course, the images aren't just beautiful. They also offer significant scientific value. The nebula was first observed in 1997, and astronomers are now comparing past and present images of the nebula to see how it has changed since then. This could reveal some of the shorter-term dynamics of a nebula after a massive explosion.
When the Hubble telescope first captured an image of the Veil Nebula some 18 years ago, the camera used by the scientists was significantly less powerful than today's technology.
This time around, the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) snapped the spectacle of the filamentary nebula. Images from the WFC3, however, capture only a small portion of the nebula's limb.