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The Hubble telescope captured an image of a shock wave.

The Hubble telescope captured an image of a shock wave.

The Hubble telescope captured an image of a shock wave.

About 815 light-years away from the Solar System lies a Pencil Nebula in the constellation Vela near the Vela pulsar, known as NGC 2736, which formed from the remnants of a massive Vela supernova. In 1840, the Pencil Nebula was discovered by Sir John Herschel, its linear appearance giving rise to a popular name.


Millions of years ago, supernova explosions gave shape to the universe, the remnants of these explosions created celestial abstractions, the Pencil Nebula is a good example, to understand that there was such an event as a supernova explosion. Taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the Pencil Nebula is the remnant of a supernova in this image.


Researchers believe that the remnant, known as NGC 2736, is a small part of the giant Vela supernova, left over from a supernova explosion about 11,000 years ago. The Pencil Nebula’s shape suggests that it is part of a supernova shock wave, and that it has encountered a region of dense gas, causing the nebula to glow and appear as a wavy sheet.