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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2009

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"Thor's Helmet"(NGC 2359), Jackson Nordling

Thor's Helmet

The object pictured is Nebula NGC2359, or more popularly referred to as "Thor's Helmet". When rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise, one can see that it gets its name from the dome-shaped curve with 2 wing-like appendages sticking out on either side, resembling a Norseman's helmet.Thor's Helmet is about 30 light years across (a sizeable helmet for a Norse God!). The dome shape is more of an interstellar bubble, caused by the fast winds of the star in its center.

The massive star in the center is known as a Wolf-Rayett star, which is a hot giant assumed to be in the pre-supernova state in a star's evolution. These giants have winds with speeds over millions of kilometers per hour, thus creating a "whispy" display of colorful cloud. This nebula is located about 15,000 light years away in the constellation Canis Major. The greenish color is from strong emission due to oxygen atoms in the glowing gas. The angular size of this nebula is about 8' x 8', and is around 53 light years from top to bottom. Sights such as this remind us of God's immense power, creativity and love for all things in the univers both known and unkown.

References:
Gendler, Robert. "Thor's Emerald Helmet." Astronomy Picture of the Day. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080117.html

Normandin, George. "NGC 2359, A Nebula in Canis Major." Kopernik Space Images.<http://www.kopernik.org/images/archive/n2359.htm>

Right Ascension (J2000) '07 18 36.00'
Declination (J2000) '-13 12 00.0'
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR
Date observed

March 29, 2009 (C)
March 29, 2009 (BVR)