Hubble captures a fantastical view of the Veil Nebula

See that diaphanous cylinder of gas above? That's the Veil Nebula -- the supernova remnant of a star that exploded 5,000 to 8,000 years ago -- as captured by the Hubble telescope. This shot of the gossamery structure looks a lot more detailed compared to previous attempts, thanks to Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3, which used six fields of view for magnification. That's the same camera that was attached to the space telescope during its last servicing mission in 2009, and the same one used to take a clearer, haunting photo of the Pillars of Creation earlier this year.

Each color represents a different type of gas (the hues were added during post-processing), with the blue parts being the hottest areas. The wispier, fainter filaments are also older than the brighter, sharper ones. Note that what you're seeing here is actually just a teensy portion of the supernova remnant in a region known as the "Witch's Broom Nebula," and the whole thing is actually much, much larger than this.

[Image credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team]