2013년 1월 20일 일요일

Celestial Wonder Looks Uncannily Like a Manatee


A watery-looking nebula in deep space is being renamed after the sea creature it strongly resembles: a manatee.
The nebula is the leftovers from a star that died in a supernova explosion about 20,000 years ago. Before it died, the giant star puffed out its outer gaseous layers, which now swirl in green-and-blue clouds around the dead hulk of the star, which has collapsed into a black hole.
Known officially as W50, the celestial object is being dubbed the Mantee Nebula  by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), during a ceremony today (Jan. 19) at the Florida Manatee Festival in Crystal River, Fla. The NRAO will also unveil a new photo of the nebula taken by the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope network in New Mexico.
"When the VLA's giant W50 image reached the NRAO director's office, Heidi Winter, the director's executive assistant, saw the likeness to a manatee, the endangered marine mammals known as 'sea cows' that congregate in warm waters in the southeastern United States," NRAO officials wrote in a statement."