Stunning Image of the Thor's Helmet Nebula Looks Like Star Wars's Mon Calamari

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 - 10:21AM
ESA
Astronomy
Space Imagery
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 - 10:21AM
Stunning Image of the Thor's Helmet Nebula Looks Like Star Wars's Mon Calamari
We're not worthy of this new image of NGC 2359, also known as Thor's Helmet, which uses X-rays to highlight the bubble structure and brilliant colors of the nebula that is named after one of our favorite Avengers:

Stunning Image of Thor's Helmet Nebula Looks Like Star Wars's Mon Calamari

[Credit: ESA]



"The neon colours in this image are not just beautiful, they also tell us about the nebula's composition," ESA said in a statement. "The bright blue patches show X-ray emission... while the pale red and green regions trace the glow from ionised hydrogen and oxygen."


The nebula is an extremely violent environment, mostly as a result of its central star which is constantly shedding interstellar material. It loses masses that are equivalent to the mass of our Sun in less than 100,000 years, and expels material at a rate of a whopping 1500 km/s. These tempestuous winds affect the shape of the nebula, which resembles a bubble with many filamentary structures.

"The nebula consists of a central bubble surrounded by a tangled web of gaseous filaments, thick channels of dark dust and bright outbursts, where material swept up by the stellar wind has collided with the surrounding gas and triggered rippling shock waves throughout the region."

The nebula is affectionately dubbed Thor's Helmet because it looks like the winged helmet from Norse mythology, but in this picture, it also happens to look a whole lot like Mon Calamari from Star Wars, and thanks to this amazing gif from io9 commenter Pendemon, you'll never be able to un-see it:

Stunning Image of Thor's Helmet Nebula Looks Like Star Wars's Mon Calamari
Science
Space
ESA
Astronomy
Space Imagery