Manatees in Space

Manatee-NebulaAlthough I’ve spent most of my adult life studying the history of biology, the people who know me best know that my first love was and always will be astronomy. That’s why I was so excited when I recently came across the image in the overhead banner. The nebula is more than 700 light-years across, more than 18,000 light-years away, and more than 20,000 Earth-years old. What makes this nebula so cool is not its size, its distance, or its age, however.  Instead, what makes this nebula so cool is the fact that it looks remarkably similar to a manatee (click here for a comparison).  Props to the eagle-eyed scientists over at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for noticing this resemblance and sharing it with the rest of us.  To learn more, check out the links here, here, and here.  While I’m at it, I thought I’d give a shout out to Wakulla Springs State Park in northern Florida, where I was recently lucky enough to observe several manatees with my own two eyes.