Beautiful View of the Cygnus Loop

Let’s stop all this science talk for a second and just enjoy this amazing photograph. It’s an image of Pickering’s Triangle; a portion of the Cygnus Loop supernova remnant, located about 1,500 light-years from Earth. This is the same remnant that contains the famous Veil Nebula. Astronomers think that the supernova detonated about 5-10,000 years ago, and the nebula now stretches across more than six full Moons of width across the sky.

The image was captured by the 64-pixel NOAO Mosaic-1 imager connected to the National Science Foundation’s Mayall 4-metre telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, and was released at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin.

Of all the pictures I’ve seen at the conference so far, I’ve got to say this one’s my favourite. And it just gets better in higher resolutions. I’ve made it my desktop background… and so should you.

Here’s a link to a smaller resolution. And if you want a really big version, here’s one with 4000 x 2053 pixels.

Original Source: NOAO News Release

4 Replies to “Beautiful View of the Cygnus Loop”

  1. That 64-pixel camera was a typographical error. The camera was probably a 64 Meg camera that would create 64,000,000 pixel images. This makes it easy to produce an eight million-pixel image; you just crop the dickens out of the original or shrink it. They are probably hording the large originally somewhere else.

  2. Pickering did not find that object. His 23-year-old housemaid Williamina Fleming did. She also created a stellar classification system based on hydrogen content, which astronomers still used a century later. She hired dozens of female mathematicians to analyze Pickering’s data, calling them computers. He did not like male mathematicians because they did not have the patience for the work. She edited his observatory publication, discovered ten novae, 310 variable stars, 58 other nebulae, and two years later became a member of London’s Royal Astronomical Society. But Pickering got the credit because she was just a woman.

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