Picture of the Day: The Manatee Nebula, Formerly Known as W50
The nebula's name was changed in order to match its looks
This past weekend, a nebula located roughly 18,000 light years away from earth was renamed by scientists working with the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), who decided that it would be best for its name to match its looks.Thus, the nebula is to no longer be referred to as W50, but as the Manatee Nebula.
As one can easily notice by taking one quick glance at the picture above, the nebula does in fact resemble said endangered marine mammal.
“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,” these scientists explained their decision.
Sources report that the Manatee Nebula is the result of a star's dying in a supernova explosion roughly 20,000 years ago.