The Sciences

Swimming up the Milky Way

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitJun 7, 2011 11:00 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

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!

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.