NASA’s astronomy picture of the day is a mesmerizing picture of the Thor’s Helmet Nebula located thousands of light-years away from Earth.
NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 20 December 2022: Thor is the Norse hammer-wielding god, also known as the God of Thunder. Besides protecting his own land of Asgard, the Asgardian is also the protector of humankind. Thor is often likened to the planet Jupiter due to the lightning and thunder factor. He even has a day named after him – Thursday! But that’s not all. It seems like even the vast emptiness of space bows down to him as there exists a Nebula resembling the Norse god’s helmet!
Today’s NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day is a mesmerizing image of a cosmic cloud termed NGC 2359. Astonishingly, the Nebula is also called Thor’s Helmet due to the hat shape of the Nebula along with wing-like structure. It is located nearly 15,000 light-years away toward the constellation of the Great Overdog and spans almost 15 light years, according to NASA. The space agency explained below the image,” Popularly called Thor’s Helmet, NGC 2359 is a hat-shaped cosmic cloud with wing-like appendages. Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor’s Helmet is about 30 light-years across. In fact, the cosmic head-covering is more like an interstellar bubble, blown with a fast wind from the bright, massive star near the bubble’s center. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star, the central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. NGC 2359 is located about 15,000 light-years away toward the constellation of the Great Overdog.”
The credit of capturing this mesmerizing phenomenon goes to Hannah Rochford who was recently awarded the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Best Newcomer 2022. According to NASA, the image is a mixed cocktail of data from broadband and narrowband filters, capturing not only natural looking stars but details of the nebula’s filamentary structures.
More about Nebulas
Nebulas exist in the space between stars, known as the Interstellar space. In fact, there is a Nebula close to Earth which could possibly be the remnant of the dying star, according to NASA. It is called the Helix Nebula and is located approximately 700 light-years away from Earth.
NASA captures the Nebulas with the help of its Spitzer Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope and the new James Webb Space Telescope.