Telescope captures the ghost of a giant star in a wild 554-million-pixel image

The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope has captured a stunning 554-million-pixel image of the ghost of a giant star.

1 minute & 25 seconds read time

Keeping to the Halloween theme, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has released a phenomenal image of the ghost of a once giant star.

Vela Supernova Remnant taken by the Very Large Telescope.

Vela Supernova Remnant taken by the Very Large Telescope.

The ESO has taken to its website to explain that the above image features the nebula called the Vela Supernova Remnant, which was captured by the ESO-run Very Large Telescope in Chile. The Vela Supernova Remnant is the remains of a once massive star that ended its life via a powerful explosion called a supernova.

This explosion happened approximately 11,000 years ago, and once it occurred, the shock waves moved through the surrounding gas in the area, compressing it and creating the strange tendrils seen scattered through the above image. So, when does a supernova happen? Simply, a supernova happens when a massive star, some fifteen times larger than our Sun, runs out of the fuel it needs to keep burning (hydrogen and helium). This lack of fuel causes the outer layers of the star to rapidly close in on the star's core, eventually forming a neutron star.

"As it exploded, the outermost layers of the progenitor star were ejected into the surrounding gas, producing the spectacular filaments that we observe here. What remains of the star is an ultra-dense ball in which the protons and electrons are forced together into neutrons - a neutron star. The neutron star in the Vela remnant, placed slightly outside of this image to the upper left, happens to be a pulsar that spins on its own axis at an incredible speed of more than 10 times per second," writes the ESO.

The Vela Supernova Remnant is located 800 light years away from Earth and is one of the closest known supernova remnants that has been discovered. Notably, the ESO writes that the above image contains 554 million pixels and that nine full moons would be able to fit within this image.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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