NASA gives us the best astronomical pun everS

About 6500 light years from earth, there's a red chicken in the sky. There may even be more than one. Many people report seeing a chicken in this new Hubble image of the Lambda Centauri Nebula, earning it the nickname "Angry Bird Nebula" and "Chicken Nebula," but they clash over exactly where the bird is. Some see the dark outline of a chicken in the center of the red cloud, while others see an animated-looking bird face with a tuft of feathers on its head, with bright star eyes and a red curved beak.

It was only fitting when scientists recently discovered that the Chicken Nebula is surrounded by, well, Boks.

A closer look at it through an ultraviolet telescope recently brought out the details. In the center of the nebula, stars are forming, gathering matter from the dust cloud. The huge, bright stars in the middle throw off enough heat to make the hydrogen cloud around it glow red.

As for those stars that are still incubating, they're in the bok bok boks around the bird. Bok globules are dark clouds of matter where would-be stars are still forming. They block light from other stars, without throwing off any light themselves. The Boks in this picture are the dark specks to the upper right-hand corner of the image. They almost seem to be emanating from the animated chicken's beak. And so NASA has captured the first giant astronomical visual pun. We are humbled.

Image: NASA

Via ESO Gems and spacetelescope.org.