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Video: Take a Spin Through the Pencil Nebula

Quicklink submitted by Kyle McDermott     Permalink
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When it comes to enduring legacies, supernovae have little competition in the universe. What you are looking at above is the Pencil Nebula (though its appearance is sometimes compared to a witch's broomstick) as captured in a new image. From our vantage point on Earth, it is still noticeably moving across the night sky even though it is something like 8,000 light-years away. All this from a star that exploded 11,000 years ago. The pencil nebula measures roughly three-quarters of a light year across and is still moving so fast--roughly 400,000 miles per hour--that even at its vast distance from Earth it will visibly change positions in the sky over the course of a human lifetime, even though the explosion that first set the whole thing in motion occurred long before the first human lives were recorded by history. Take a flight through it yourself below.

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[[VID42]]The Pencil Nebula brightest feature bring... by Kyle McDermott on Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 8:26:14 AM