DUMAS, Tx - James McBride, a 14 year old amateur astronomer from Dumas, Texas, has captured a stunning image of a four-nebula cluster he has nicknamed "Face of God." The Texas panhandle resident captured the image using nothing more than a disposable 35mm camera and a telescope his grandfather bought for him at Wal-Mart.
On a clear night this past July, James and his girlfriend, Dana Pearson, were camping in the hills north of Dumas. James scanned the skies with his new 4 inch Meade telescope for hours before catching the a glimpse of what he called "a face looking back at me." Girlfriend Dana admitted that she was getting bored with James' celestial obsession, but now that he has his picture in USA Today, she's "glad she didn't break up with him!"
Nasa officials were a bit embarrassed at James' discovery, considering that they released "The Eye of God" in May 2003. The NASA photo, captured by the multi-million dollar Hubble Telescope, showed only the right "eye"; a single nebula of the four-nebula cluster. "We were looking deep into space; trillions of miles away. We never thought about pulling back to see the bigger picture," admitted Kenneth Darling, directory of the Hubble Team. "We were shocked when some kid from a little town in Texas came up with a shot of the whole face."
Since the discovery, James has been approached by several national newspapers, The Discovery Channel, CNN, and even FoxNews. "I'm just all excited about all of this," James told reporters. "I knew I had something big, but didn't have no idea until I got the prints back from Wal-Mart. I was so excited, I forgot to pull out the naked pictures I took of Dana. Damn! Mama was pissed!" Dana refused to comment, but her blushing smile corroborated James' story, without a doubt.
Douglas McBride, James' grandfather told reporters that he bought the telescope with the hope of sparking James' desire to learn. "James hadn't been doing too well in school and," Douglas explained, "I was worried that the boy was getting mixed up with drugs. Damned if I didn't think he was on drugs when he told me he had a picture of God's face." Douglas went on the express his pride for his grandson, and his hope that this discovery would help him get into a good college.
When asked if he wants to be an astronomer when he grows up, James responded, "I'm not sure. To be honest, I just thought the telescope was a good excuse to get Dana to go camping with me. But now, I don't know. I think it's pretty cool. Do astronomers make a lot of money?"