Meet the newly named Manatee nebula. Officially known as W50, this cloud of gas and dust is the remnant of a supernova explosion that happened 10,000 years ago in the constellation Aquila.
This image, released and renamed by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory on Jan. 19 to coincide with the Florida Manatee Festival, bears witness to the correspondence that heavenly phenomena sometimes have for more familiar things on Earth. Both the NRAO staff and members of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, home to many endangered West Indian manatees, hope to draw attention to the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act with the release. The nebula joins the ranks of other nebulas named for animals, such as the Eagle nebula, Crab nebula, and Horsehead nebula.
But that’s not all. According to a press release from both organizations, manatees have a lot in common with the Manatee nebula