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The remains of a star that exploded thousands of years ago create an abstract image in our galaxy, as seen in the photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of the Pencil Nebula. Known as NGC 2736, the Pencil Nebula is part of the Vela supernova remnant, discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1840 and whose linear form has given it that popular name. The shape of the nebula suggests that it is part of a shock front of a supernova that encountered a region of dense gas, which has caused the nebula to shine.
The image shows large filamentous structures, small bright "knots" and patches of diffuse gas. The region captured in this image is 3/4 of a light year long. The remnant of the Vela supernova is about 114 light years in maximum length and is 815 light years from the Solar System.
The explosion of a supernova left a pulse in the core of the Vela region. Based on the rate at which this object is slowing its rotation, astronomers believe that the explosion could have happened 11,000 years ago. The star that died as a supernova could have been 250 times brighter than Venus and would be visible to observers in the southern hemisphere in broad daylight. If the age of the event is correct, this would mean that the initial explosion pushed material from the star at 35 million km per hour. As the supernova remnant has been expanding, the speed of its filaments has been decreasing. The image nebula now moves to about 640,000 km / h.
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