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NGC 6960, The Witch's Broom

NGC 6960, The Witch's Broom

C009/3709

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Credit

GERARD LODRIGUSS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GERARD LODRIGUSS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

NGC 6960 is the Witch's Broom, a portion of the Veil Nebula. The Veil Nebula, also known as the Cygnus Loop or Cirrus Nebula, is the remnant of a supernova explosion that occurred about 10,000 years ago. It is located 1,400 light years away in the constellation of Cygnus. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1784. The Witch's Broom appears to lie close to the bright star 52 Cygni, the brightest star in the frame at top center, but 52 Cygni is just a foreground star at a distance of 206 light years that is aligned by coincidence along the same line of sight. The entire Veil Nebula spans 3 x 3 degrees of sky. The brighter eastern half is designated as NGC 6992 and NGC 6995. The Witch's Broom, NGC 6060, seen here, is the western half of the Veil.

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