Thor's Helmet

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day today is a cosmic cloud called Thor's Helmet, for obvious reasons.
Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor's Helmet is about 30 light-years across. In fact, the helmet is actually more like an interstellar bubble, blown as a fast wind from the bright, massive star near the bubble's center sweeps through a surrounding molecular cloud. 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. Cataloged as NGC 2359, the nebula is located about 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Canis Major.

Link -via Digg

(Image credit: Star Shadows Remote Observatory and PROMPT/UNC/Steve Mazlin, Jack Harvey, Rick Gilbert, and Daniel Verschatse)

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