National Geographic : 1952 Feb
254 © National Geographic Society-Palomar Observatory Sky Survey Shattered Fragments of an Exploded Star Drift in Lacy, Luminous Clouds Many beautiful celestial objects have been photographed by the National Geographic Society-Palomar Observa tory Sky Survey, but few are more striking than the Network, or Loop, Nebula in the constellation Cygnus. One theory is that the nebula was born perhaps 100,000 years ago out of the explosion of a supernova, a star suddenly gone wild, releasing hundreds of millions of times its normal energy in one brief cataclysmic flare-up (page 258). Such explosions are rare, occurring only about once every 500 years in our galaxy. Science is still searching for the reason some stars go berserk. Big Schmidt reveals remnants of this explosion strangely aglow, like neon lights hung in space.