Zoom in on a stunning new image from the James Webb Space Telescope and you might be in for a little surprise.
There, in the backdrop of awe-inspiring star birth, lie Corlico and a point of light in the form of an English punctuation mark: the question mark.
It’s unclear what exactly the object is, but it’s relatively far away; In general, the redder the object appears in the field image, The greater the distance. This is because the accelerating expansion of the universe stretches light as it moves toward us, lengthening it into the redder parts of the spectrum.
The two points appear to be roughly the same color, which raises the intriguing possibility that they could be two distant galaxies interacting. This is a phenomenon we see very little in the universe, and the gravitational interaction can pull such galaxies into Interesting elongated shapes.
ARP 23 appears a A little like a rose.
Arp-Madore 2026-424 looks like a file spooky skull.
It’s not that stuff, of course; They only appear because of a whim in human perception they are known as Pareidoliawhere we see patterns and meaning in the random arrangements of elements.
We don’t often see something that looks very precisely like a punctuation mark, but up close the cosmic question mark can look very different. We may have the perfect combination of distance and perspective to make the two objects look like something meaningful to us.
If the universe had a mascot, we would nominate the cosmic question mark. Was there anything else that so beautifully summed up our boundless curiosity for the boundless worlds above?
You can download the full size image to reflect on the nature of it all From the ESA Web site.
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