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March 28, 2011 - Veil Unveiled

Veil Unveiled Some five to eight thousand years ago, a star exploded in the constellation Cygnus. We don’t know how bright the star was, how long it was visible, or what impact its appearance had on those humans who witnessed it. We do know that the supernova created an energetic shock wave that has expanded, causing the interstellar medium it comes in contact with to glow. A compact circular nebula likely formed right after the explosion, but thousands of years of expansion have turned it into a diffuse, sprawling remnant that now covers an area six times the width of the full Moon. The Veil Nebula, as it is known today, is so diffuse that its isolated components are each given a different designation. Shown here is NGC 6992, also known as the Eastern Veil, one of the largest intact portions of the nebula.

Image credit: Antonio Fernandez / www.afernandez.net

Weekly Calendar

March 28 - April 3, 2011

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 28

Vesta 1.2° south of Moon

1802: Heinrich Olbers discovers asteroid Pallas
1963: Fourth Saturn C-1 rocket (SA-4) launched

Moon phase Tuesday 29

1807: Heinrich Olbers discovers Vesta
1974: Mariner 10 first Mercury flyby
1989: Starfire 1 launched
2006: ISS Expedition 13 crew launched

Moon phase Wednesday 30

Mercury appears stationary
Neptune 5° south of Moon

Moon phase Thursday 31

Venus 6° south of Moon

1962: NASA approves final design of Gemini spacecraft
1982: Kvant module launched to Mir space station
1997: Pioneer 10 mission officially ends

Moon phase Friday 1

1960: TIROS 1 launched
1997: Comet Hale-Bopp’s closest approach to Sun
1998: TRACE launched

Moon phase Saturday 2

Moon at apogee

1845: First photograph of Sun taken
2010: Soyuz TMA-18 launched carrying ISS Expedition 23 crew

Moon phase Sunday 3

New Moon 10:32 AM ET
Saturn at opposition

1966: Luna 10 becomes first spacecraft to orbit the Moon
1973: Salyut 2 space station launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.