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Ducks in a row: new NASA photo has Twitter users stumped

NASA has revealed new photos of the star cluster Messier 11; also known as the Wild Duck Cluster.

The cluster was first identified in 1681, and the similarity is bears to an assortment of flying wild ducks was first noted in 1835. Sounds like the ducks are obvious right? Apparently a lot of Twitter users don’t think so, and many have responded to NASA’s tweet about the cluster with their attempts to ‘connect the dots’.

Photo by: ESA/Hubble & NASA, P. Dobbie et al

In a blog post about the cluster, a NASA spokesperson said “…its brightest stars form a ‘V’ shape that somewhat resembles a flock of ducks in flight”.

The similarity between Messier 11 and a flock of ducks was first spotted by Admiral William Henry Smyth in 1835. He said “This object, which somewhat resembles a flight of wild ducks in shape, is a gathering of minute stars, with a prominent 8th-magnitude in the middle, and two following; but by all analogy these are decidedly between us and the cluster”.

“But by all analogy these are decidedly between us and the cluster” is a phrase Twitter users have taken quite literally. Here are some of our favourite analogies:

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April 4, 2019