Thor's Helmet Nebula Glows With Intense X-Rays

By Jamie Condliffe on at

This bright cloud of neon colours, a result of the X-ray emissions within, has a strangely distinctive shape—which landed it the name Thor’s Helmet among astronomers.

In fact its formal name is NGC 2359, but the central bulge and—squint your eyes now—wing shapes to the left and right got it its name. The bright blue areas are a result of X-ray emissions, while pale red and green regions are a result of ionised hydrogen and oxygen respectively. The image is made up from data acquired by the ESA’s XMM-Newton space observatory and Chile’s Cerro Tololo telescope. [ESA]