On this Halloween Day, see Witch’s Broom Nebula!
Ten thousand years ago, before the dawn of recorded human history, a new light would have suddenly have appeared in the night sky and faded after a few weeks. Today we know this light was from a supernova, or exploding star, and record the expanding debris cloud as the Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant. This telescopic view is centered on a western segment of the Veil Nebula cataloged as NGC 6960 but less formally known as the Witch’s Broom Nebula. Blasted out in the cataclysmic explosion, the interstellar shock wave plows through space sweeping up and exciting interstellar material. The complete supernova remnant lies about 1400 light-years away towards the constellation Cygnus. This Witch’s Broom actually spans about 35 light-years. The bright star in the frame is 52 Cygni, visible with the unaided eye from a dark location but unrelated to the ancient supernova remnant.
For the first time, I took this image as a mosaic. As this object is too large for my telescope, which is fixed at 75 times magnification, I had to take 2 images of this object (it’s left portion separately than the right portion) and then merged them together.
I took this image over 8.5 hours (2 sets of 15 luminance images of 10 minutes each and 7 images of each of the 3 primary colors of 5 minutes each).