The Western Veil (NGC 6960)

All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Magnitude:  ? (but fainter than the Eastern Veil, which is roughly magnitude 5.0)
Size: 70'
Distance: 2600 light years
RA: 20h 45m 42s
Dec: 30 degrees 43' 00"

The Western Veil is a supernova remnant that is part of a larger complex that includes the Eastern Veil (NGC 6992).  It is estimated that the supernova explosion occured about 10,000 years ago, before the age of recorded history.  The star that gave rise to this supernova remnant is no longer visible, but it must have been massive (supernovas generally result from stars that are greater than 1.4 times the mass of our sun).  52 Cygnus is the bright star seen in the center of the field and is not related to the formation of the Veil.  During a star's life, nuclear fusion produces elements such as oxygen, silicon, carbon, and iron.  These elements are expelled into space during supernova explosions, later to become part of other stars, planets, and lifeforms like ourselves.  The Western veil is relatively rich in oxygen, which is excited by radiation from nearby stars, resulting in emission in the blue green spectrum (OIII).  There is a component of red light from excited hydrogen gas as well.  The Veil complex is a stunning view in large aperture scopes, especially with the use of an OIII filter.

Photographic Details:

Date:  September 6, 2003
Scope:  LX90 at f6.5, Lumicon OAG
Autoguider:  SBIG STV with e-finder
Camera:  Canon 10D
Filter:  IDAS LPS
Exposures:  Left side: 4 x 7' each; Center: 3 x 7' each; Right side: 4 x 7' each, all at ISO1600.
Temperature 68 degress F; average transparency; average seeing; wind minimal.
Post-processing:  Raw conversion, adaptive dark frame subtraction, min/max excluded averaging, and background compensation done in ImagesPlus; alignment done in Registar; levels and curves adjustment in Photoshop, with selective noise reduction of the red channel done in Pleiades SGBNR software.  This represents a mosaic in which three sections (left, center, and right) were processed first, and then combined as a last step, following the technique outlined by Rob Gendler on this website.

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