Updated: Oct 28, 2019

NGC 2359 is a cloud of interstellar gas that resembles Thor’s Helmet. Although very faint, the colors in the gases really pop when taking long exposures, with both an astrophotography specific or a DSLR camera.

This beautiful deep sky object gets its glow from WR7, a massive Wolf-Rayet star that will soon turn into a supernova.

We recommend as many hours as your patience can allow to capture this target. While a total of 4 hours can yield fair results, additional time will give you all the faint gases surrounding NGC 2359.

The image below was taken during our very first "test night" with our new CMOS camera, the ASI 1600MM. This is an image of just 3 hours of total exposure, and we plan to retake this to achieve a total of 6 hours. Come back here to see the difference between the two!


Camera: ZWO ASI 1600mm Pro Mono

Telescope: Orion 8" Astrograph f/3.9

Mount: Atlas EQ-G motorized Mount

Coma: Baader MPCC Coma Corrector MkIII

Guiding: Starshoot Autoguider - 50mm Guide Scope

Acquisition: ASI Air

Power: Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox

Processing: Pixinsight


Total Exposure Time: 3 hours

Exposure Time per frame: 3 minutes

Filters: Ha (1 hour) / Sii (1 hour) / Oiii (1 hour)

Gain: 139


Thor's Helmet can be found in the constellation of Canis Major. It is fairly easy to find, because it is very close to the brightest star in the night sky: Sirius. From there, simply travel about 8 degrees northeast in order to find the nebula.

Thor’s Helmet is a faint target that is impossible to spot with the naked eye or binoculars. A telescope of at last 6” is required to spot its nebulosity from an extremely dark site, but do not expect to view something impressive. A 10” telescope will reveal some of the shapes in the gases. If you would like to see more of the nebula, you would need to attach a filter to a high power telescope, and only then will you be able to distinguish the iconic shape of the helmet.

  • About 30 light-years accross

  • Wolf-Rayet star gives NGC 2359 its glow

  • Similar to the Bubble Nebula, but more complex


We used three filters to capture Thor's Helmet: Ha, OIII, and SII. Both Ha and OIII gave us impressive single shots (see below for Ha), but SII only showed us a tiny bit of gas.

Single shot of Thor's Helmet with the Hydrogen Alpha filter - 3 minutes at gain 139

The processing was fun, as we decided to do a Hubble Palette workflow. We still have some noise and not enough "orange" in our image, so we really hope adding 3 hours to it will fix that!


Thor's Helmet is one of our favorite nebulae (if not THE favorite?) and we really cannot wait until getting a great final image of it. Hopefully we will be able to do it this year and update this post soon :)

Clear Skies,

Antoine & Dalia Grelin

Galactic Hunter


The Astrophotographer's Guidebook

Description: Discover 60 Deep Sky Objects that will considerably improve your Imaging and Processing skills! Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced astrophotographer, this detailed book of the best deep sky objects will serve as a personal guide for years to come! Discover which star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies are the easiest and most impressive to photograph for each season. Learn how to find each object in the night sky, and read our recommendations on imaging them in a quick and comprehensive way. Each target in this guide contains our advice on imaging, photos of expected results, and a useful information table. We've also included a few cool facts about each target, a map to find it in the night sky, and more!

The Astrophotographer's Journal

Description: The Astrophotographer’s Journal is a portable notebook created for the purpose of recording observations, cataloguing photographs, and writing down the wonderful memories created by this hobby. This book contains more than 200 pages to memorialize your stargazing and imaging sessions, as well as a useful chart on the last pages to index exciting or important notes. Read back on the logs to see how much progress you have made through the months, the problems you overcame, and the notes taken to improve in the future. Just as the pioneers of astronomy did in their time, look up and take notes of your observations as you are the author of this star-filled journey.

The Constellations Handbook

Description: The Constellations Handbook is a logical guide to learning the 88 constellations. Learning the constellations is difficult. Remembering them is even harder. Have you ever wanted to look up to the night sky, name any pattern of stars and be able to tell their stories?This book groups the constellations in a logical order, so that the reader can easily learn them by their origin, and see how their stories interact with one another as a group.The last pages of this book include an index of all 88 constellations, each with a slot where you can write your own personal tips and tricks in order to memorize them with ease.The Constellations Handbook is not just another guide listing all the constellations from A to Z and their location, it is the perfect companion for stargazing, and a learning journey through the ages.

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