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We were wrong the whole time about '42'

29 Nov 2019, 14:00 UTC
We were wrong the whole time about '42'
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

If you've been following me online for any amount of time — like literally a single day — then you know I love cool astronomical pictures.

If you've been following me for a bit longer, then you may also be aware I delight in examples of pareidolia, random or semi-random patterns that our brains interpret as something else, like faces in clouds.

This happens in astronomy a lot, since we have gas clouds, galaxies, and more, scattered around or shaped by cosmic forces such that we see them as more familiar things. That's how we can have the Horsehead Nebula, the Witch Head Nebula, the Coat Hanger Cluster, and more.

So how is, over my entire life under these two influences, have I never heard of NGC 2169?

What's that, you ask? Well, it's a small cluster of stars over 3,000 light years away in the constellation of Orion. Normally that wouldn't be worth commenting on, except for its shape… and here's a hint: it's nicknamed the 37 Cluster.

NGC 2169, a small cluster of stars about 3,000 light years away... that's coincidentally shaped like the number 37. Credit: ScottRak on Wikimedia Commons

WHAT THE WHAT. LOOK AT IT. LOOK. ...

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