Pencil Nebula (NGC 2736)


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About this Image

The colorful Pencil Nebula (NGC 2736) is part of the well known Vela Supernova Remnant at it's south-eastern end. To our knowledge the 'bang' was probably some 11,000 years ago. The expanding blast wave from the explosion is still sweeping outward from the site of the explosion. The colorful structures are places where the blast wave has run into something, typically a clump or a cloud of interstellar material that is normally invisible.

If the age of the Vela supernova is correct, then material must have initially raced out from the star at nearly 22 million miles per hour (35 million kilometers per hour). Since then, everything has slowed down. The portions that make up the Pencil Nebula are moving at roughly 400,000 miles per hour (644,000 kilometers per hour). The complete area is embedded in dust and reddish glowing Hydrogen gas.

North is to the upper left side.

Find a wider view of this Vela SNR area here.
Find more information on this object here: 1.
Find a close-up on the central part of NGC2736 from the HST here: 2.

Technical Details


20 " Keller cassegrain in corrected secondary focus at f/9

Mount Liebscher GEM
Camera SBIG STL-11000M at -15C, 8-pos STL filter wheel
Filters Baader LRGB
Date May 01, 2008.
Location IAS/Hakos Namibia
Sky Conditions dark skies, raw FWHM 1.6-1.8" temperature 15 C,
Exposure L:R:G = 30:30:30 minutes (10-minute sub-exposures);
synthetic luminance used, synthetic blue channel from green
Programs used Maxim DL 4.5;
Photoshop CS3