NGC6960 - The Witches Broom

Camera: FLI Microline ML8300M

Mount: Losmandy G-11 with Gemini

Scope: Astro-Physics Starfire AP130 EDF

Colors: L:R:G:B

Exposure Time: 160:50:50:50 minutes - RGB binned 2x2

Post-Production: MaxIm DL5, CCDStack2, PixInsight, and Photoshop CS5

Roughly ten thousand years ago, before the dawn of recorded human history, an incredible new light must suddenly have appeared in the night sky which faded after a few weeks. Today we know this light was an exploding star, and we can see the remnants as a colorful expanding cloud known as the Veil Nebula or Cirrus Nebula. Pictured here is the west end of the Veil Nebula, catalogued as NGC 6960 but less formally known as the Witch's Broom Nebula. The expanding debris cloud gains its colors as the expanding shockwave sweeps up and excites existing nearby hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur gasses. The supernova remnant lies about 1400 light-years away towards the constellation of Cygnus. This section of the Veil Nebula actually spans over three times the angular size of the full Moon, so it is quite large in the sky. However, it has a relatively low surface brightness that requires long exposures in order to capture the subtle undulations in the shockwave surface. The bright star 52 Cygni is visible with the unaided eye from a dark location but unrelated to the ancient supernova. This is another image captured with my portable setup, from the home of Jerry and Cindy Foote, in Kanab, Utah. Thanks you two!

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