Cosmic ‘question mark’ shows up in James Webb Space Telescope image

Cosmic ‘question mark’ shows up in James Webb Space Telescope image

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An astronomical object resembling the curious symbol has appeared in the background of an image of the Vela Constellation. Examples of pareidolia – which is the brain’s inherent tendency to perceive meaningful shapes in abstract patterns – have often been found on the Moon or on the surface of Mars, but this is the first time we’ve seen one on a scale large enough to be seen far off in the depths of space.Resembling a question mark, the unexpected extra was spotted in a breathtaking James Webb image released this week of two actively forming young stars in the Vela Constellation.

So what could possibly explain a gargantuan question mark floating in space ? “It is probably a distant galaxy, or potentially interacting galaxies (their interactions may have caused the distorted question mark-shape),” representatives of Baltimore’s Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) told Space.Com when quizzed about the phenomenon.

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“This may be the first time we’ve seen this particular object.”

“Additional follow-up would be required to figure out what it is with any certainty. Webb is showing us many new, distant galaxies — so there’s a lot of new science to be done!”

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