spaceSpace and Physics

It's May 4, So Grab Your Telescope. “Baby Yoda” Is The Nebula You Are Looking For


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockMay 4 2021, 11:07 UTC
Thor's Nebula image taken by the Very Large Telescope in 2012. Image Credit: ESO/B. Bailleul

Thor's Nebula image taken by the Very Large Telescope in 2012. Image Credit: ESO/B. Bailleul CC BY 4.0

It's May 4 – Star Wars Day (#MayTheFourthBeWithYou) – so if you want to search out some cosmic wonders with a semblance of your favorite Star Wars characters, the "Baby Yoda" nebula is the perfect place to start. Officially named NGC 2359, the nebula is an emission nebula in the constellation of Canis Major. And yes, it looks a bit like Baby Yoda.


If Baby Yoda is not your favorite and your taste runs more towards Marvel, you may be happier to know that the official nickname for the object is the Thor’s Helmet nebula. And if you’re not keen on that either, people also say it looks like adorable alien Stitch from Lilo & Stitch. (It’s not lost on us how this nebula is pretty much the epitome of Disney’s intellectual properties).

Baby Yoda Nebula
NGC 2359 from Australia/ Image Credit: David Hein courtesy of Unistellar

The nebula is located 12,000 light-years away and to see it you’ll need a good telescope and/or a long exposure time if you are trying to snap a picture. Also non-negotiable is being in or very close to the Southern Hemisphere.

Unistellar citizen astronomers have pointed out other objects that also look a bit Star Wars-like, mostly barred spiral galaxies that look like TIE-fighters such as M91 and M109, both in the Northern Hemisphere. So, if you're seeking out Star Wars-themed cosmic objects for May 4 in a galaxy not so far away, you should be sorted.


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