The Veil Nebula is a supernova remnant located 2,100 lightyears away in the Cygnus constellation that spans 110 lightyears across.
A supernova remnant is the remains of a star that has ended its life in an explosion known as a supernova. In the case of the Veil Nebula, the star in question was 20 times the mass of the Sun and exploded about 8,000 years ago.
A blast wave from the stellar explosion is hitting cooler, more dense interstellar gas and emitting light in the process.
Veil Nebula (part) in HST by Chris Heapy, Macclesfield, UK. Equipment: Televue NP127is Refractor @ 660mm f/l, Atik490EX, 10-Micron GM2000HPS, unguided, 3nm Ha, OIII and SII (Astrodon)
The Veil Nebula is part of the larger Cygnus Loop structure, and the delicate filaments and almost fragile-looking structure are what give the Veil Nebula its nickname.
Because the Veil Nebula is so expansive, astrophotographers love to capture separate sections of the nebula, which have been allocated different names.
The Western Veil Nebula, NGC 6960, is also known as the Witch’s Broom, due to its long, thin, raggedy appearance.
The bright star that can be seen in images of the Western veil is 52 Cygni, and is actually nothing to do with the nebula itself. It is merely a foreground star that just appears to be part of the nebula from our perspective.
Veil Nebula by Scott Prideaux, Stoke on Trent, UK. Equipment: NEQ6, Skywatcher f/5 200p reflector, canon 1100d (unmodded)with cls clip filter.
The Eastern Veil, also known as NGC 6992 and Caldwell 33, contains NGC 6995, or the Bat Nebula. Together, NGC 6992 and NGC 6995 are collectively known as the Network Nebula.
In images where the Eastern Veil is on the left and the Western Veil is on the right, just above the Western Veil you’ll find Pickering’s Triangle, named after the American astronomer Edward Charles Pickering who in the late 19th/early 20th century headed Harvard College Observatory.
While there he employed the ‘Harvard Computers’: an 80-strong team of women astronomers such as Annie Jump Cannon, Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Antonia Maury, who would become some of the most influential and instrumental figures in the history of astronomy.
Pickerings Triangle by Steve Wilson, Middlesbrough, UK. Equipment: Altair Astro RC 6″ with 0.67 flattener, HEQ5 Pro mount, Atik 314l+, Baader Ha and OIII filters
Below is a selection of images of the Veil Nebula, including images of the Western Veil, the Eastern Veil and Pickerings Triangle.
For more info on photographing nebulae, read our guide to deep-sky astrophotography or discover our pick of the best astrophotography cameras.
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The Veil Nebula
Bicolour Veil Nebula © Péter Feltóti (Hungary) Halásztelek, Pest County, Hungary, 28–29 June, 20 July, 13–20 August 2020. Equipment: SkyWatcher 200/800 Newton Astrograph telescope at f/4.6, Astronomik Ha and OIII filters, SkyWatcher NEQ6 Pro mount, Moravian G3-16200 Mark II camera, Ha-OIII composite, 12 hours total exposure
The Veil complex wide field view by John Slinn, West Sussex, UK. Equipment: Miniborg 45ED apo, modified Canon 450D DSLR camera, Mount Losmandy G11
The Cygnus Loop by Matt Foyle, Derbyshire, UK. Equipment: Unmodified Canon t2i/550D, Astronomik CLS Clip filter, Nikon 300mm ED AF lens at F4, NEQ6 Pro mount, Orion 50mm mini guider, QHY5M
Cygnus Loop by Rob Little, Corbridge, UK. Equipment: Borg 77 EDII F4.6, ATIK 383L mono CCD, narrowband filters, NEQ6 Pro mount
Veil Nebula by James Robertson, London, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher Esprit ed80, AVX mount, Canon 750d astro modified
Veil Nebula by David de Cuevas, Treize Vents, France. Equipment: Astrotech 66/400, EQ6, Canon 450D Astrodon
The Veil Complex by Gavin James, Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: William Optics Star 71, QSI 683-WSG8, Baader H alpha, OIII filters, Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro.
The Veil Nebula by Davy Cannon, Hamilton, Scotland, UK. Equipment: Altair Astro Starwave 70ED triplet APO travel refractor, Altair Planostar v2 0.8 reducer, Canon EOS 60Da DSLR, Astronomik UHC clip-filter, NEQ6 Pro mount.
The Western Veil
Veil Nebula in narrowband by Dave Trewren, Bristol, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 120ED, 80ST guidescope, QHY9M, filter wheel, Baader NB filters, Mount HEQ5 Pro, mobile pier.
NGC6960 by Martin Bailey, Gnosall, Staffs, UK. Equipment: Canon 1000d, Astronomik CLS CCD filter, Coma Corrector, Skywatcher Explorer 200 PDS, Celestron CG5.
Western Veil by Stephen Dean, Isle of Wight, UK. Equipment: Canon 1100D, Astronomik clip filter, Skywatcher ED80mm, EQ5 Mount, Backyward EOS, PhD.
Caldwell 34 West Veil Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron c11 sct, skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Canon Eos 1100d self-modified and Astronomik CLS CCD clip filter.
C34 Witch’s Broom Veil Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount & Equinox 80mm refractor, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik Ha Oiii filters.
Caldwell 34, NGC 6960 , The Western Veil or the “Witch’s Broom” by Matt Foyle, Derbyshire, UK. Equipment: FSQ160ED, QHY9M CCD, NEQ6Pro Mount, Orion miniguider, QHY5M, ST4 port, Baader 2″ CCD.
C34 Witches Broom Ha/OIII/OIII by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: GSO 8″ Richey-Chretien Optical tube, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
C34 Witches Broom SII/Ha/OIII by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: GSO 8″ Richey-Chretien Optical tube, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
NGC6960 by Roger Brooker, Seasalter, Kent, UK. Equipment: SXVh9 camera, Ts65q Telescope, Eq6 pro via EQmod, Guided with 9mm OAG+QHY5 mono.
Veil Nebula on a Budget by Alastair Woodward, Derby, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 150p, EQ3-2 with RA + Dec motors, Unmodded Canon 350d, CLS Clip Filter
NGC 6960 by Patryk Tomalik, Gloucester, UK. Equipment: TSA 102, ST8300, AZ EQ6GT-Ha4, 5h, OIII-4h
C34 Witch’s Broom by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Telescope service 8″ Boren simon power newtonian, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
NGC 6960 by Zlatko Orbanic, Pula, Croatia. Equipment: Sky Watcher NEQ 6 Pro, Apo 130/900+F/R, Canon EOS 500D Modded.
Veil Nebula by Haim Huli, Israel. Equipment: Skywatcher P250 10” F4.8, ASA DDM60, QSI583 Mono, Astrodon RGB, Astrodon Ha 3nm
NGC6960 by Alastair Woodward, Derby, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 150p, HEQ5 Pro GOTO, Modded Canon 1000d, CLS Clip Filter, Skywatcher Coma Corrector, QHY5L-II, PHD2, ST80 Guidescope
NGC6960 by Mark Large, Colchester, UK. Equipment: Altair Astro 10″ RCT, modified Canon EOS 1000D
NGC6960 – Witches Broom by Simon Todd, Haywards Heath, UK. Equipment: Sky-Watcher Quattro 8-CF 8″ F4 Newtonian, Celestron Telescopes C80ED Refractor, Sky-Watcher EQ8 Pro, Atik 383L+ Mono CCD, Qhyccd QHY5L-II
NGC6960 – Western Veil Nebula (HOO – Bicolour Combination) by william Tan, Johor, Malaysia. Equipment: Skyrover 110ED doublet len, ZEQ25, ASI1600MM Cool, Baader 7nm Ha, Optolong 6.5nm Oiii.
Veil Nebula by Sheila Whysall, Heanor, UK. Equipment: Takahashi FSQ 106 reduced, QSI 683 wsg-8, GM1000 mount
Witch’s Broom by Jeff Whitehill, Windsor, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 150P, HEQ5 Pro, Canon 6d Mk2
NGC 6960 Witch`s Broom Nebula by Frank Iwaszkiewicz, Eggersdorf, Berlin, Germany. Equipment: 10″ f/4 TS ONTC Newton, Celestron CGE GPS, Atik 383L+
Meteor and The Witch’s Broom by Clive Roberts, Denbighshire, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 130PDS, Canon1000D, Skywatcher HEQ5
The Eastern Veil
Eastern Veil by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK. Equipment: Meade 127 refractor, EQ6, Nikon D90 DSLR.
Eastern Veil Nebula by Tom Richardson, Smethwick, Birmingham, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 80ED pro refractor, Atik 16ic mono ccd, Baader 7nm Ha filter. Guided with ST80.
Eastern Veil portion mono Ha by Tom Richardson, Smethwick, Birmingham, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher ED80 f/7.5, Atik 16ic mono CCD, Badder 7nm Ha filter.
Caldwell 33 East Veil Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron c11 sct, skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Canon Eos 1100d self-modified and Astronomik CLS CCD clip filter.
NGC 6995 Network Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron c11 sct, skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Canon Eos 1100d self-modified and Astronomik CLS CCD clip filter.
NGC 6992 & IC 1340 in the Veil Nebula by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron c11 sct, skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik Ha RGB filter set.