NGC 6960: The Witch's Broom Nebula
Ten thousand years ago, before the dawn of recorded human history, a new light
must suddenly have appeared in the night sky and faded after a few weeks.
Today we know this light was an exploding star and record the colorful expanding
cloud as the Veil Nebula. Pictured above is the west end of the Veil Nebula known
technically as NGC 6960 but less formally as the Witch's Broom Nebula. The rampaging
gas gains its colors by impacting and exciting existing nearby gas. The supernova
remnant lies about 1400 light-years away towards the constellation of Cygnus.
This Witch's Broom actually spans over three times the angular size of the full Moon.
The bright blue star 52 Cygnus is visible with the unaided eye from a dark location
but unrelated to the ancient supernova.