Swimming up the Milky Way

By Phil Plait | June 7, 2011 7:00 am

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:

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)


Related posts:

Angry slippers are angry (a personal fave; I took the picture!)
Heart and skull nebula
Carroteidolia
Happy pareidolidays!

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