There are few events in the Universe more violent than a supernova.
When a star explodes, the energy released is almost unimaginable. In seconds, billons of times the energy of the entire Sun is released; a wave of destruction moves through the doomed star from the inside out, blasting away an octillion tons of gas, sending it raging into space at a significant fraction of the speed of light.
The initial explosion eventually fades, but that gas still moves outward. What does this do over time? What does that look like after a few thousand years?
The Vela supernova remnant is the shredded remains of a star that blew up 11,000 years ago, seen against a backdrop of gas clouds in the Milky Way. Credit: Robert Gendler and Roberto Colombari / DSS
That is the Vela supernova remnant, the aftermath of a massive star reaching its end and exploding. The unnamed star's life ended about 11,000 years ago, but the gas it flung into space is still there, moving away from the blast site at high speed. In this image, you can see it as the thin, filamentary structure in the center, shining on both red and blue, indicating ...