Nebula resembling a sea creature – Manatee

A nebula in space has been named after a sea creature; a manatee, to whom it resembles very much.

This nebula was made from the star that vanished with a supernova explosion about 20,000 years ago. The outer gaseous layers were expanded before the death of the star that is now rotating in green-and-blue clouds around the huge star, which has now collapsed into black hole. This nebula is located in the constellation of Aquila.

Manatee is an endangered large aquatic animal that likes to eat plants. It is usually found in warm Atlantic coastal waters. It has front flippers and a broad flattened tail as you can see in the picture.

Supernova remnant (left Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, K. Golap, M. Goss; NASA’s Wide Field Survey Explorer (WISE)) and Manatee (Right Credit: Image used with permission from Tracy Colson)
Supernova remnant (left Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, K. Golap, M. Goss; NASA’s Wide Field Survey Explorer (WISE)) and Manatee (Right Credit: Image used with permission from Tracy Colson)

The nebula is officially known as W50 and now also referred to as the Manatee Nebula by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), during a ceremony on January 19th at the Florida Manatee Festival in Crystal River, Fla.

“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.

The Observatory will also show the new photo of the nebula taken by the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope network in New Mexico.

NRAO has decided to talk with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in order to give the new nickname to the nebula.

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