Pictures of Thor’s Helmet Nebula

Facts about and images of NGC 2359, the emission nebula known as Thor's Helmet.

Thor’s Helmet: NGC 2359 gets its nickname from its distinctive nebula bubble. Credit: Gerald Rhemann/CCDGuide.com

NGC 2359 is an emission nebula located 12,000 lightyears away in Canis Major. It’s also known as Thor’s Helmet, given its similarity in shape to the Norse god’s famous headwear.

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The nebula is produced by a massive, hot Wolf-Rayet star emitting a stream of charged particles known as a stellar wind that’s expanding outwards to produce an interstellar bubble.

This bubble is interacting with molecular clouds nearby, causing the ionising of radiation that gives the nebula its glow.

NGC2359 Thor's Helmet by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
NGC2359 Thor’s Helmet by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.

The star associated with Thor’s Helmet is catalogued as WR7 and is considered to be 280,000 times more bright than our Sun and 16 times more massive. It may well undergo a type of stellar explosion known as a supernova in the near future.

Below is a selection of images of Thor’s Nebula captured by BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers and astrophotographers.

For advice on photographing nebulae, read our guide to deep-sky astrophotography or find out how to fine-tune your images with our guide to deep-sky image processing.

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Thor’s Helmet: NGC 2359 gets its nickname from its distinctive nebula bubble. Credit: Gerald Rhemann/CCDGuide.com
Thor’s Helmet: NGC 2359 gets its nickname from
its distinctive nebula bubble. Credit: Gerald Rhemann/CCDGuide.com
NGC2359 Thor's Helmet by Graham Edridge, Stamford. Lincolnshire, UK. Equipment: 10
NGC2359 Thor’s Helmet by Graham Edridge, Stamford. Lincolnshire, UK. Equipment: 10″ Meade LX200; Atik 383L+ mono; Baader Ha, R,G,B filters; guided with 80 mm Celestron short focus refractor, Meade DSI mono and PHD; processed in nebulosity
Thor's Helmet by Nick De Villiers, Calitzdorp, South Africa. Equipment: Atik 460EX mono, Celestron Cgem mount, 8
Thor’s Helmet by Nick De Villiers, Calitzdorp, South Africa. Equipment: Atik 460EX mono, Celestron Cgem mount, 8″ RC.
NGC2359 Thor's Helmet by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12
NGC2359 Thor’s Helmet by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount,Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik Ha, Oiii filters.
Thor's Helmet Nebula by Rafael Compassi, Presidente Lucena, Brazil. Equipment: Skywatcher 8
Thor’s Helmet Nebula by Rafael Compassi, Presidente Lucena, Brazil. Equipment: Skywatcher 8″ F/5, Canon T1i, Astronomik CLS CCD clip filter.
Sh2-298 (NGC 2359, IC 468, Gum 4, LBN 1041, Thor’s Helmet) by Dan Crowson, Animas, New Mexico, USA. Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M, Astro-Tech AT12RCT at f/8 2432mm.
Sh2-298 (NGC 2359, IC 468, Gum 4, LBN 1041, Thor’s Helmet) by Dan Crowson, Animas, New Mexico, USA. Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M, Astro-Tech AT12RCT at f/8 2432mm.
Tor's Helmet - NGC2359 by Haim Huli, Kibutz Ramat Hakovesh, Israel. Equipment: ASA 12'' Astrograph F3.6, ASA DDM85, FLI8300 Mono
Tor’s Helmet – NGC2359 by Haim Huli, Kibutz Ramat Hakovesh, Israel. Equipment: ASA 12” Astrograph F3.6, ASA DDM85, FLI8300 Mono