7 Most Astounding Nebulae Deep Space Has To Offer

Gravity might be wowing everyone worldwide, but there's an entire galaxy out there of even more incredible sights.

Late last month a group of undergraduate students were using telescopes at University College London to gaze up at the galaxy lovingly known as the 'M82'. While doing this one of the students was looking at a textbook with a photographic plate of what M82 should look like and they quickly piped up that it wasn't what they were seeing through the telescope. After checking their coordinates they quickly realised that a star in the galaxy they were looking at had undergone a massive supernova; causing a new flash of light to become embedded in this disk of the galaxy.
What the students were witnessing was the bright death of a star nearly 12 million light years away. It was so bright that it briefly outshone its host galaxy. This cataclysmic explosion occurred nearly 12 million years ago and the students just happened to be watching at exactly the right time to catch the star in its final death-throws. This caused the astronomy community to rally quickly and turn all the best telescopes on this brief and bright explosion. It is a truly rare event, the light of which can be gone in two weeks, meaning you really do have to be paying attention! Astronomy is a tough subject when you have no experiments to work with, you can only watch and wait, hoping that you will be able to catch these events in action. This can be a frustrating way to do science but there are ways of getting around it. We can use the gas clouds or "remnants" big events leave behind to tell something about them. Supernovae are fantastical objects, releasing so much energy we can see them in distant galaxies across the universe. In our own neighbourhood we don't see so many, but we can look around and see what has been left behind by the ones we never caught. Supernovae, and other events besides, leave behind beautiful dust clouds loosely called nebulae (from the Latin for cloud) which give astronomers an idea of what's happened long after the original event has been lost. Here is a breakdown of some of the most beautiful nebulae around us and where they come from...

I'm currently obtaining my doctorate in Astrophysics making me a huge nerd. I'm a fan of movies, books and games as well as having a big soft spot for music, particularly soundtracks. If it's an hour long discussion about which Final Fantasy game was the best, I'm your best bet.