Home > Astronomy, General Astronomy, Nebulae > WIYN/NOAO: A Panoramic Loop In Cygnus

WIYN/NOAO: A Panoramic Loop In Cygnus


 

Credit: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Credit: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF

As an end of the year finale, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) and WIYN partners offer this new wide-field image of the Cygnus loop. Three degrees on a side, this image covers an area of the sky about 45 times that of the full moon. But it does so without sacrificing high resolution. The image is over 600 million pixels in size, making it one of the largest astronomical images ever made.

The Cygnus Loop is a large supernova remnant: the gaseous remains of a massive star that exploded long ago. It is located about 1,500 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. Astronomers estimate the supernova explosion that produced the nebula occurred between 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. First noted in 1784 by William Herschel, it is so large that its many parts have been catalogued as separate objects, including NGC 6992, NGC 6995 and IC 1340 along the eastern (left) side of the image, NGC 6974 and NGC 6979 near the top-center, and the Veil Nebula (NGC 6960) and Pickering’s Triangle along the western (right) edge. The bright star near the western edge of the image, known as 52 Cygnus, is not associated with the supernova.

Fu;; Story: http://www.noao.edu/news/2012/pr1209.php
Image: http://www.noao.edu/image_gallery/html/im1138.html

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