Ever stare up at the clouds and imagine that they were taking various shapes? Maybe you saw a pirate ship, or an elephant, or even something as mundane as a kitchen sink. Well, astronomers do that, too, whether they are looking at clouds, stars or planetary dirt. I'm not just talking about the constellations.
This week, we've been treated to a lovely view of the Lambda Centauri nebula from the European Southern Observatory. When I first saw the release, however, it referred to the popular game "Angry Birds" in the title. I cocked my head to the side and looked at the nebula again. Angry bird? Where? Finally, I thought I saw a chicken in the nebula or at least its head. After that, it couldn't be unseen.
I laughed and called my office mate over to see it. She also cocked her head to the side as she tried to find the chicken. I pointed it out, but she was skeptical. Neither of us got the "Angry Birds" connection, though, or why some people called it the "Running Chicken Nebula."
A few days later, Universe Today writer, editor and overall sky deity Fraser Cain posted the following image on Facebook to convince someone that there really was a chicken in the nebula.