Nebula W50 will now be known as the Manatee Nebula
By: Clara Moskowitz
Published: 01/19/2013 09:45 AM EST on SPACE.com
A watery-looking nebula in deep space is being renamed after the sea creature it strongly resembles: a manatee.
The nebula is the leftovers from a star that died in a supernova explosion about 20,000 years ago. Before it died, the giant star puffed out its outer gaseous layers, which now swirl in green-and-blue clouds around the dead hulk of the star, which has collapsed into a black hole.
Known officially as W50, the celestial object is being dubbed the Manatee Nebula by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), during a ceremony today (Jan. 19) at the Florida Manatee Festival in Crystal River, Fla. The NRAO will also unveil a new photo of the nebula taken by the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope network in New Mexico.