Thor's Helmet
Frank's Astrophotos

Thor’s Helmet

This week’s target was Thor’s Helmet (NGC 2359), an emission nebula in Canis Major a rather distant 12,000 light-years away. It’s formed by a Wolf-Rayet star in its center, which is a crazy-hot star whose immense stellar wind is bunching up and ionizing the gases around it in these complex patterns. It’ll probably go supernova at some point. From an imaging standpoint, this object is unusual in how blue it is. That’s from ionized Oxygen, which usually takes a back seat to red, ionized Hydrogen. Although this image was enhanced using narrowband filters, it is in true color. It’s also special because north of Florida it’s tough to get a good picture of it. And if you use your imagination, it looks like it’s dancing through the heavens.

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