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Thor’s Helmet Nebula is a Beautiful Mess of Color

posted: 04/22/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
INTENSE X-RAYS SCULPT THOR’S NEON-HUED HELMET
J.A. Toala & M.A. Guerrero (IAA-CSIC), Y.-H. Chu (UIUC/ASIAA), R.A. Gruendl (UIUC), S. Mazlin, J. Harvey, D. Verschatse & R. Gilbert (SSRO-South) and ESA

We can always count on NGC 2359, the nebula affectionately known as Thor's Helmet, to stun us with its intense neon dust and glowing gasses. The European Space Organization explains that the nebula's colors help astronomers understand its composition: blue patches correspond to x-ray emissions and red and green regions represent ionized hydrogen and oxygen.

The star in the center of the nebula is anything but ordinary. According to the ESA, the star is "old, massive and pushing out incredible amounts of material at a staggering pace", which seems to explain the nebula's unique shape.

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