Veil Nebula

Veil Nebula





Oil on Canvas

9" x 12" 


Original / Giclée / Cibachrome

This painting is an artistic interpretation of a Hubble photograph of a small portion of the Veil Nebula the shattered remains of a supernova that exploded thousands of years ago. This of image provides beautifully detailed views of the delicate, wispy structure resulting from this cosmic explosion. . The intertwined rope-like filaments of gas result from the enormous amounts of energy released as the fast-moving debris from the explosion plows into its surroundings and creates shock fronts. These shocks, driven by debris moving at 600,000 kilometers per hour, heat the gas to millions of degrees. It is the subsequent cooling of this material that produces the brilliant glowing colors that indicate emission from different kinds of atoms excited by the shock: blue shows oxygen, green shows sulfur, and red shows hydrogen. The Veil Nebula, also known as the Cygnus Loop, is located in the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan (1,500 light-years from Earth), is a prototypical middle-aged supernova remnant that has an unobscured location in our Galaxy, is relative close, and is of large size with the entire shell spanning about 3 degrees on the sky (corresponding to about 6 full moons). Stars in galaxies are born and then die. How long a star lives depends on how massive it is. The more massive the star, the shorter its life. When a star significantly more massive than our Sun runs out of fuel, it collapses and blows itself apart in a catastrophic supernova explosion. A supernova releases so much light that it can outshine a whole galaxy of stars put together. The exploding star sweeps out a huge bubble in its surroundings, fringed with actual stellar debris along with material swept up by the blast wave. This glowing, brightly colored shell of gas forms a nebula that astronomers call a "supernova remnant." Although only about one star per century in our Galaxy will end its life in this spectacular way, these explosions are responsible for making all chemical elements heavier than iron, as well as being the main producers of oxygen in the universe. Elements such as copper, mercury, gold, and lead are forged in these violent events. The expanding shells of supernova remnants mix with other clouds in the Milky Way and become the raw material for new generations of stars and planets. The chemical elements that constitute Earth, and indeed those of which we ourselves are made, were formed deep inside ancient stars and distributed by supernova explosions in nebulae like the one painted here.

Original is available: $1200

Also Available as Limited Edition Prints

Cibachrome Print Sizes

17 x 23     $960