Thor’s Helmet

Thor's HelmentNGC 2359 (aka Thor’s Helmet) is an emission nebula in the constellation Canis Major. The nebula is about 15,000 light-years away and 30 light-years across. The central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. This image was taken by the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

Image Credit: ESO

Second Star to the Right …

tinkerbell_eso… and straight on ’til morning. Just follow Tinker Bell. This image from the ESO‘s Very Large Telescope shows a rare merger of three galaxies. The system, which bears a resemblance to Tinker Bell, is composed of two massive spiral galaxies and a third irregular galaxy.

The image is a multi-band composite of infrared data from the  VLT combined with archive images from Hubble. The VLT data allowed astronomers to not only see the two previously known galaxies, but to identify a third, an irregular, massive galaxy that seems to form stars at a frantic rate.

Image Credit: ESO