Unistellar Citizen Astronomers are invited to participate in this week’s quest to observe Thor’s Helmet Nebula!
This blue celestial helmet is being formed by an extremely massive and luminous star!
Thor’s Helmet Nebula is a challenging target. Scroll down the page to Tips for Observing for more details.
- Thor’s Helmet Nebula, also known as NGC 2359, is classified as an emission nebula
- Emission nebulae are clouds of dust and gas, often illuminated by a nearby star
- In the center of Thor’s Helmet lies an extremely hot and massive star, known as WR7, which illuminates the nebula. WR7 is nearly 300 thousand times brighter than our Sun!
- By expelling its outer layers, WR7 is also forming this nebula, at a rate of over 20 thousand miles per hour.
- This nebula gets its name from its resemblance to the Norse god’s famous winged helmet.
- Located about 12 thousand light years away, spanning about 30 light years across
- It can be found in the constellation Canis Major
- In Latin, Canis Major literally means “greater dog”
- In Greek mythology, Laelaps was the fastest dog in the world. Zeus placed it in the sky as Canis Major to stop a never-ending race between Laelaps and an equally fast fox.
- Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky, has its home within Canis Major
- It was discovered by astronomer and composer, William Herschel in 1785.
Tips for Observing:
- Search for “Thor’s Helmet Nebula” in the Explore tab of the Unistellar app.
- This nebula is currently visible in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
- Since this is a challenging object, you may want to leave the Enhanced Vision mode on for at least 30 minutes, depending on the sky quality at your location. Be careful with wind, observing near bright lights, or anything that may move the eVscope or its tripod, which may cause Enhanced Vision to drop.
- Recommended Bortle Class is 5 or lower.
eVscope image captured by Unistellar Citizen Astronomer Scott Kardel, from southern California.
We encourage you to share your observations of Thor’s Helmet Nebula and join the conversation through our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages using the hashtag #UnistellarChallenge!
If you’d like to send us your observations by email, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clear skies! 🔭