Sunday, January 20, 2013
Manatee Nebula: A wonder in the cosmos
Officially, it's called W50. What's that, a lubricant? Boring. Fortunately, astronomers, like the rest of us, can be moved by the beauty, however coincidental, of a natural wonder. So here we have the Manatee Nebula. 18,000 light years from Earth, the remnants of a star that exploded 20,000 years ago have swirled into this picture - surrounding a black hole. So why can we appreciate beauty, anyway? There's no evolutionary advantage to it? Is it - dare I say it - a spiritual gift?