Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2003 April 20
Explanation: Because the Gum Nebula is the closest supernova remnant, it is actually hard to see. Spanning 40 degrees across the sky, the nebula is so large and faint it is easily lost in the din of a bright and complex background. The Gum Nebula, highlighted nicely in the above wide angle photograph, is so close that we are much nearer the front edge than the back edge, each measuring 450 and 1500 light years respectively. The complex nebula lies in the direction of the constellations of Puppis and Vela. Oddly, much remains unknown about the Gum Nebula, including the timing and even number of supernova explosions that formed it.
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NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.