Astronomy Picture of the Day

NGC 2359: Thor's Helmet

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NGC 2359: Thor's Helmet


NGC 2359 is a striking emission nebula
with an impressive
popular name - Thor's Helmet.

Sure, its suggestive winged appearance might lead some to refer
to it as the "duck nebula", but if you were a nebula which name
would you choose?

By any name NGC 2359 is a bubble-like nebula some 30 light-years
across, blown by energetic winds from an extremely
hot star seen near
the center and classified as a Wolf-Rayet star.

Wolf-Rayet stars
are rare massive blue giants which develop
stellar winds with speeds of millions of kilometers per hour.

Interactions with
a nearby large molecular cloud are thought
to have contributed to this nebula's more complex shape and
curved bow-shock structures.

NGC 2359
is about 15,000
light-years distant toward

the constellation
Canis Major.

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