Swimming up the Milky Way

Swimming up the Milky Way

Swimming up the Milky Way

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
June 7 2011 7:00 AM

Swimming up the Milky Way

Pareidolia is the psychological term for seeing patterns in random or near-random distributions of things. The Face on Mars, the Man in the Moon, Jesus in a taco shell, and so on... most of the time it manifests as faces, since our brains are geared to recognize them as easily as possible.

But sometimes you get other patterns too. I don't know about you, but I agree with astronomer Yurii Pidopryhora: this is a dolphin:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  


It's actually a cold molecular gas cloud about 25,000 light years away in our galaxy, seen in the radio part of the spectrum. I don't have much to say, except

1) If that dolphin's swimming, it must be in liquid helium and not water -- note the temperature scale on the right; and

b) Too bad this is in the constellation of Scutum the shield; it should really be in Delphinus.

Image credit: Yurii Pidopryhora (JIVE)

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