NGC 2359

Coordinates: Sky map 07h 18m 30s, −13° 13′ 48″
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Thor’s Helmet Nebula
Emission nebula
Thor’s Helmet Nebula imaged on the occasion of ESO’s 50th Anniversary.
Observation data: J2000 epoch
Right ascension07h 18m 30s[1]
Declination−13° 13.8′ ″[1]
Distance11,960[2] ly
ConstellationCanis Major
Notable featuresHII (ionized) region
DesignationsGUM 4, LBN 227.66-00.09, SH 2-298, GRS 227.80 -00.20, LBN 1041, RCW 5[1]
See also: Lists of nebulae

NGC 2359 (also known as Thor's Helmet) is an emission nebula[3] in the constellation Canis Major. The nebula is approximately 3,670 parsecs (11.96 thousand light years) away and 30 light-years in size. The central star is the Wolf-Rayet star WR7, an extremely hot star thought to be in a brief pre-supernova stage of evolution. It is similar in nature to the Bubble Nebula, but interactions with a nearby large molecular cloud are thought to have contributed to the more complex shape and curved bow-shock structure of Thor's Helmet.

It is also catalogued as Sharpless 2-298 and Gum 4.[4]

The nebula has an overall bubble shape, but with complex filamentary structures. The nebula contains several hundred solar masses of ionised material, plus several thousand more of unionised gas. It is largely interstellar material swept up by winds from the central star, although some material does appear to be enriched with the products of fusion and is likely to come directly from the star.[5] The expansion rate of different portions of the nebula varies from 10 km/s to at least 30 km/s, leading to age estimates of 78,500 - 236,000 years. The nebula has been studied at radio and x-ray wavelengths, but it is still unclear whether it was produced at the class O main sequence stage of development, as a red supergiant, luminous blue variable, or mainly as a Wolf-Rayet star.[2]

NGC 2361 is a bright knot of nebulosity on one edge of the central ring of NGC 2359.


  1. ^ a b c "NGC 2359". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b Zhekov, S. A. (2014). "X-rays from wind-blown bubbles: An XMM-Newton detection of NGC 2359". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 443 (1): 12–18. arXiv:1406.2463. Bibcode:2014MNRAS.443...12Z. doi:10.1093/mnras/stu1138.
  3. ^ SEDS: NGC 2359 Archived 2010-03-26 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "The Gum Catalog". Archived from the original on 2013-07-16. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  5. ^ Cappa, C. E.; Goss, W. M.; Niemela, V. S.; Ostrov, P. G. (1999). "A Study of Neutral and Ionized Gas of the Wolf-Rayet Ring Nebula NGC 2359". The Astronomical Journal. 118 (2): 948. Bibcode:1999AJ....118..948C. doi:10.1086/300995. S2CID 123709946.

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