ECKHARD SLAWIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ECKHARD SLAWIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Milky Way. Optical image of the Milky Way in the constellation Cygnus, the swan. North is at top. The red arcs just above centre form the Cygnus Loop, also known as the Veil or Cirrus Nebula. It is a supernova remnant, an expanding shell of gas cast off by a dying star that is thought to have exploded around 10,000 years ago. At lower right is the open star cluster NGC 6940 in the neighbouring constellation Vulpecula, the fox. The Milky Way is the band of light crossing the sky formed from the millions of stars in the plane of our galaxy. It contains thousands of star clusters and nebulae.
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