NASA / ESA / STSCI / HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / STSCI / HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Supernova remnant, optical Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image. Part of the Pencil Nebula (NGC 2736), a part of the Vela supernova remnant, this glowing gas and dust cloud formed from the explosion of a large star around 11,000 years ago. This flung the outer layers of the star against the interstellar medium. The impact from this rapid expansion, now only 650,000 kilometres per hour, causes the gas and dust to heat up and glow. The expanding dust cloud contains the material needed to form planets around new stars. The Pencil Nebula is around 800 light years distant from Earth. This area is less than a light year across.
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