Here's an image I took of the Veil Nebula in Cygnus, using a 200mm lens. It’s a supernova remnant, the remains of a star that exploded perhaps 5,000 years ago. This event would not have escaped the notice of our ancestors, shining more brightly than Venus for a few weeks and visible during the daytime. We can only wonder what they made of it. (I can't really do the Veil justice with a camera lens, this deep hydrogen alpha image by Sara Wager shows its structure in intricate detail.)
Today the expanding nebula spans 3 degrees of the sky, six times the apparent diameter of the full Moon. The red colour is mostly hydrogen while the blue indicates an abundance of oxygen, glowing at a temperature of several thousand degrees. Most of the visible material is interstellar gas swept up by the supernova shock-wave, but mixed in is a sprinkling of heavier elements such as iron, cobalt and nickel from the core of the progenitor star. If you jangle your keys you’re handling materiel cooked up in an explosion like this.
The rightmost component of the Veil is often referred to as the Witch’s Broom for obvious reasons (astronomer see, astronomer say). Above it lies a dust lane, obscuring the stars behind it. The Witch’s Broom is aptly named, as the Veil expands it's sweeping this dust away and revealing - or unveiling - more stars, making it a functional as well as figurative broom.
Eventually the products of the supernova become mixed into the interstellar medium, where they can be incorporated into the next generation of stars and planets.