back to article Stargazers peer into the 'Eye of God'

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, aka (mercifully) ESO, has released an impressive image of the Helix Nebula captured by La Silla Observatory in Chile. The nebula, lying at around 700 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius, has quickly been dubbed the "Eye of God", for …


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  1. Dave Gregory

    Obvious reasons?

    "has quickly been dubbed the "Eye of God", for obvious reasons"

    What obvious reasons? Yes, it looks like an eye, but lets not let credulity and religious bullcrap get in the way of perfectly good astronomy.

  2. Christoph

    Can I be the first one to say ...

    The Eyeball in the Sky!

  3. Adrian Jones

    Eye of god my arse.

    That's where Sauron got to!

  4. OS

    creepy ....


    GAAAAAH !!!

  5. Neil

    Just one eye?

    No-one ever told me god was a cyclops

  6. goggyturk

    @ Dave

    Yes, I'm sure all those astronomers in Chile have converted the observatory into a mountain top monastery cult-base for their new religion.

    Or perhaps not.

    What would you rather they call it? The eye of Sauron?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    We're all doomed

    I'd put money* on there being a similar 'nebula' adjacent, along with a nose, mouth, etc...

    Just look out for the coming of the great white handkerchief.

    *about 3p if anyone wants to take the bet.

  8. Scott
    Thumb Down


    Lets keep the non-existant supernatural out of science.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eye, for one...

    welcome our new ocular OverLord! ... oops, OverDeity, I mean[1].

    [1] May his peerless retina forgive my foolish oversight.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's not really that different from the image that was Astronomy Picture of the day back in May 2003. Impressive nonetheless though :-)

  11. Flugal
    Paris Hilton

    Why "The Eye of God"?

    Surely anybody with even a basic sense of logic can only be drawing the conclusion from this and various rigourously conducted scientific research that there is NO "god".

    If the sky-fairy brigade want to take every bit of evidence leading towards big bang theory and turn that on its head to meet their own "god" agenda then that is their right, of course, but I would expect El Reg to fall on the side of rationalism not superstition.

    Sure, it looks like an (human/animal) eye, but given nobody (who hasn't received a sharp blow on the head or is suffering mental illness or delusions) has actually seen "god" (why might that be I wonder??) how does anybody conclude it looks like the "eye of god".


    Paris - at least she exists.

  12. Secretgeek
    Thumb Down


    Not to deflate this story but this image came round on email months ago.

    It's nice but not exactly what I'd call the Eye of God.

    Looks like he had a late night.

    And blue eyes? Think he/she/it has got blonde hair too? Maybe a beard and white robe as well?

    Oh do just give up.

    Besides there's loads of better pics of galaxies and nebula that would make a much better contender for 'Eye of God' status.

    Personally I'll keep an eye out for the left earlobe of God.

    Or maybe the quiff of the Almighty.

  13. SpeakerToAliens

    Can I be the first to say...

    "Clams got legs!"

    Oh. Sorry. Wrong cartoon.

    Mine's the one with the "Footrot Flats" compendium in the pocket.

  14. Greg

    I wonder if they'll find a mote


  15. M7S

    A better name would have been

    The Eye of Harmony.

    Less likely to agitate the pro/anti-religious nutters, and finally some stellar recognition for Gallifrey. Yes I know that strictly it should be a black hole, but lets be a little creative. Think of it as a re-imagining.

    I guess I'll have the one with the really stiff high collar and shoulder pads.

    (Want to know why they wear them? To avoid being stabbed in the back by all the other Lord Cardinals)

  16. andy gibson

    @Dave Gregory

    The "obvious reasons" are that believers think God resides in the heavens. Hell, even sci fi fans do too - you never seen the Futurama Episode "Godfellas"?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Because this is 100% PROOF that GOD EXISTS and is WATCHING US from The HEAVENS!!



  18. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Please

    It's just a colloquialism. Anything big and round in the sky is bound to incur flippant 'God' tags. Just be grateful it's not the Arse of God.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Saw it before

    Hmmm, i've had this image as my desktop wallpaper for over a year now, how come this story is being regurgitated ?

  20. dervheid

    "Paris - at least she exists."

    Have you actually, physically met her?

    For all you know, she could just be a figment of your over-active imagination.

    "Just be grateful it's not the Arse of God. "

    That's where we are at the moment, is it not. It would certainly explain the current levels of 'deep shit' we appear (to me anyway, but I could be imagining all this) to be experiencing.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sarah Bee

    Good point - wouldn't take much photoshopping to turn it into the goatse of god :-O

  22. Francis Vaughan

    @AC old

    The impressivness of this image is that it is a ground based image. The well known versions of the Helix, the origional "Eye of God" pic that does the rounds is a Hubble image. This new image is an exemplar of the astounding strides made in ground based observations in the days since the HST first flew. There is a very good reason the James Webb telescope, if and, when, it finally flies won't be a visual wavelength 'scope. Since the HST flew visible wavlength astronomy from ground based telescopes has closed the gap and are now exceeding the HST's capability. Not just in light grasp (which they always had) but in raw resolution. Space based observations need to look at stuff we can't see from the ground to continue to justify themselves.

    Go download the original image and have a look. All 85MB of it. Then compare with the NASA HST image. The ESA image has about twice the resolution. (And less noise.) Now THAT is impressive.

  23. Circadian

    Re: Re: Please (Sarah Bee)

    If it's the "other end", wouldn't that be a black hole in the centre?

    Though considering black holes tend to swallow matter than throw it out... anyone else remember the Red Dwarf episode about the planet where time travels backwards and the scene with the Cat at the end?

  24. Scott Swarthout

    Re: Sarah Bee

    I thought that happened every 28 days. on the "Full Moon"

    ..No worries, I've already got the coat.

  25. Richard

    Arse of God

    Surely that would be Eta Carinae:

    Somewhat ironically for the AC @13:43, part of the nearby Keyhole nebula is known as the Finger of God :o

  26. Peyton

    Of course it's the eye of god

    And as it's only one eye, it looks like it was the Norse that got it right!

    For the eye of Sauron, cf.

  27. Lionel Baden
    Paris Hilton

    @all the god haters

    Hang on just one little min

    Just because it is called eye of god does not necersarilly infer that the namee beleives in god.

    It represents what that individual can represent an image in his mind !

    If i tell you i met a man with glowing Red eyes would you not have a picture in your mind as to what the eyes look like. Regardless of the fact you beleive my fancifull tales of a friday night.

    And anyway i think its ceiling Cats eye !

    Ceiling cat is watching you Mas........

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Tolerance and non-deists

    You non-deists preach tolerance the most loudly and yet are some of the least tolerant people I come across.

    AC because I might be burned at the stake for disagreeing with non-religious nutters...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Just a thought...

    Sir Isaac Newton, possibly the greatest scientist of all time, was also one of the biggest religious maniacs of his day. Meanwhile, the worst mass murderers in history (Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao) were avowed humanists who denied the existence of god.

    I'm not saying this to defend anyone's right to believe or not to believe anything, just that human behaviour is a lot more complex than some people on this thread seem to realise.

    Paris, to try and distract some of you from your fulminations...

  30. Dave Gregory


    I just got out of the wrong side of bed this morning. I was more disgruntled at the use of the word "obvious" than the word "god". The eye of god is a name that would simply never have occured to me is all...

    And I am really not going to get into any frustrating and ultimately unresolvable arguments about religion or tolerance or anything else along those lines. I have many, many better ways of wasting time.

  31. Anonymous Coward



    That is all.

  32. jimbarter

    it looks

    particularly tasty on a dual monitor setup

  33. Andy Bright

    Give it a rest

    I don't believe in gods, religion or any other hocus pocus, but nothing irritates me more when the arsehat brigade start acting oh-so-offended just because something has a name that sounds a bit religious.

    You want to call Christmas 'The Holidays', go right ahead, but fuck off forcing other people to conform to your crybaby and extremely boring existence.

    The truth is these people are just anti-Christian. You don't see them asking for Mars and Venus to be renamed or the Sun and Moon for that matter. No, but because someone used a bit of poetic license to name a giant gas cloud The Eye of God, they're getting their panties in a twist. Fuck off back to California where you belong.

  34. NukEvil

    Definitely looks like a cat's eye...

    I'm in ur galaxy...

    ...watching u masturbate!

  35. LaeMi Qian

    God's final message to humanity

    Before she have up on us as a bad job and went off to create the rest of the universe based on inorganic chemistry.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Ahh, nice

    But the first I heard about this was in the tabloid newspaper The Sun today. They excitedly stated that it would take light two and a half years to cross. And then when on to say that it could have whole galaxies in it.

    Humm, me thinks that the Sun science editor (should such a post exist) would like to invest in an encyclopaedia that told them what the approximate diameter of a galaxy was. They may be rather surprised to find that it is a bit larger than 2.5 light years.

    Mind you, it’s not as bad as the Pepsi re-brand that’s currently doing the rounds on the Internet. Search for Pepsi and breathtaking. They say that a light year is 671 million mile an hour.

    As to jobs and who deserves them, I'll leave that to you.


  37. Magani

    My God...

    It's full of stars!

  38. Edward Livengood

    Not much reading going on here eh?

    Obviously no one has read "A Mote in God's Eye."

  39. Bounty

    Am I the only one

    who wants to see the old "corkscrew" pic along side the new one to compare.

  40. Lindsay Silver badge

    Re: Re: Please

    The godse?

  41. Anonymous Coward

    God, that's impressive!

    Jesus Christ, that thing's huge!

  42. Kwac

    religious nutters

    on AOL have picked up on this.

    "If a teacher tells my kids I came from a chimpanzee there'll be trouble" is not atypical.

  43. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Oh Most glorious Lord, we worship thee... working tirelessly on thy Holy Contact Lens.

  44. Kwac
    Thumb Down

    Snopes is your friend

    Not one photo but a composiye - with colours 'enhanced".

    July 2006

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nudge nudge, wink wink

    I gather there are actually quite a few different body parts to be found in the realm of the nebulae, although not all are suitable as publicity pictures... if you catch my drift.

    Not sure how many have been ascribed to God, though.

  46. Toastan Buttar

    The Goatse of God (Safe For Work)

  47. FreeTard

    Your all going to HELL

    Heathens the lot of you. God is going to kick your arses straight to Hell.

    HA HA HA :-)

  48. Peter Fielden-Weston

    @LaeMi Qian

    Thank you for reminding me of Terry Bisson's "Their made out of meat!"

  49. Alex C

    Beast O' Da East

    I like the way the eye follows you around the universe - very clever that.

    And to annoy all the people getting het up about it being the eye of god I'm claiming it's the eye of the dragon of eternity in Sinfest.

  50. David Barr

    It isn't a real eye

    So calling it the eye of God is quite appropriate.

  51. Eponymous Cowherd

    You heathen b'stards....

    had better keep off zebra crossings.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Leave my arse and eye out of this

    Or there'll be trouble.

  53. Vlad The Impugner


    I'm still trying to work out if there could be a dog. It's going to epochs before we get onto gods.

  54. Greg

    @Edward Livengood

    Hey! Check my comment further up! I was glad to read your post. Was horrified at the lack of Niven/Pournelle fans.

  55. Greg

    @Andy Bright

    Good man, I'm in total agreement. These days the loudest, most vehement fanatics are the supporters of no God at all.

  56. Malcom Ryder

    Cheech anf chong


    When Cheech and Chong played Black Sabbath at 78 they saw God,. Interesting that God has a blue eye, proof that the the pictures of Jesus wiith really great hair, like a Breck Sampoo ad are true.

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