The universe started with the Big Bang some 13.8 billion years ago and has been expanding relentlessly ever since. Inside of this ever expanding universe we have uncountable nebula that form new stars and galaxies. Simply speaking, a nebula is a collection of a tremendous amount of gases at a very high temperature and pressure. Some of them have extraordinary shape making it stand out from others. What astro-photographer Liam has captured below is the Pencil Nebula which gets its name from its long linear appearance:
Liam took the image with the ZWO ASI 1600MMC PRO camera mounted on the GSO 8″ F/4 telescope. As this kind of image requires a very long exposure to be taken, he used a EQ6-R mount for tracking. For this image, Liam has invested a total of 40.15 hours over 12 nights. Talk about dedication.
What’s interesting is that the Pencil Nebula is actually a very small part of the Vela supernova remnant. While this Pencil Nebula is about 800 light years away and 5-light years long, the Vela remnant itself is about 100 light years in diameter. What we can derive from this is that the scale of the universe is just unimaginable. Further, if you look at the background, the number of deep space bodies give a hint of the vastness that lies beyond. To the left of the image you can notice a faint layer of gases which makes it seem like the nebula is vaporizing. Fascinating!
We should really consider ourselves lucky to be living in an age where we can take such detailed images of interstellar objects from our backyard.
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