The Vela Supernova Remnant and part of the Gum nebula
AAO image reference UKS 2a.    « Previous || Next »

The Vela Supernova Remnant and part of the Gum nebula
Top left is NE. Image width is about 3.3 degrees min
Image and text © 2000-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory
Photograph from UK Schmidt plates by David Malin.

About 120 centuries ago an inconspicuous star in the constellation of Vela brightened by about 100 million times to rival the Moon as the brightest object in the night sky. This photograph shows a portion of the north-western quadrant of an expanding nebulous shell, which now surrounds the site of the explosion. Near the centre of the nebula (and not seen here) is the Vela pulsar (PSR J0835-4510), a rapidly-spinning neutron star only a few kilometres in diameter, the remnant of the star that exploded. This tiny, massive object spins about 11 times a second and is among the faintest stars ever studied at optical wavelengths, a far cry from its brief glory as one of the brightest stars ever seen. The Vela supernova remnant is in the same direction as the diffuse Gum nebula, which appears as the biggest emission nebula in the sky. Click here for bigger image.

Related images
AAT 78.    Part of the Vela supernova remnant
AAT 78a.  Part of the Vela supernova remnant (wide angle, no satellite trail)
AAT 78b.  Part of the Vela supernova remnant (wide angle, with satellite trail)
AAT 84.    NGC 2736, the 'Pencil nebula' in Vela
UKS 2.     The Vela supernova remnant
UKS 2b.   Position of the Vela pulsar in the Vela supernova remnant
Constellation of Vela (external site)

For details of object position and photographic exposure, search technical table by UKS reference number.

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, July 25