A new photo has revealed the stunning ghostly remains of a giant star.
Given that the photo was released on Halloween, the slender pink structure complementing the orange is all that a massive star died in a powerful explosion some 11,000 years ago.
The wreckage, named Vela, is large enough to hold nine full moons in the image alone – the entire cloud is even bigger than that.
It is one of the closest supernova remnants to Earth, 800 light-years away.Compare, the iconic Pillars of Creation Reshot earlier this month in brilliant detail 6,500 light-years away.
The images of Vela were taken by the VLT Sky Survey Telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO)’s Paranal Observatory site in Chile, where parts of the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace” were filmed.
The telescope’s camera has 268 million pixels and can take images through multiple filters, allowing different colors of light to pass through.
Its Vela image consists of 554 million pixels and is a serious contender for your next desktop wallpaper.
What is Vera’s backstory?
When the largest stars die, they usually go out in huge explosions called supernovae.
The explosions are so large that they send shock waves through the surrounding gas, compressing it and forming complex wire-like structures, as seen in Vela’s images.
These structures are heated by the amount of energy released, which is why they are so shiny.
The rest of the star is an ultra-dense sphere of protons and electrons that are forced together to form a neutron star.
The neutron star in the Vela remnant happens to be a so-called pulsar, and it spins at an astonishing rate of more than 10 times per second.