What's up with all the "fossils" on Mars? They are figments of our imaginations, driven by our interest to be there – on Mars – and to know that we are not alone. Altogether, they feed a multitude of web pages and threads across the internet.
Pareidolia is the phenomenon where you interpret random stimuli as familiar images. And even though these photos are of planets, nebulae, and other objects in space, it's easy to imagine that they're actually pictures of human faces, caterpillars, elephants, and even Starfleet badges.
Did that swirl of gas and dust just face-palm a pulsar? System PSR B1509-58 has a history of inspiring pareidolia, and this latest infrared and x-ray composite image is just calling out for creative interpretation.
Everyone sees recognizable shapes when they look up at the clouds—that's the nature of pareidolia. But artist Martín Feijoó takes it a step further, illustrating the images he sees. And some of them are pretty weird.
The twitter account @FacesPics exists for the sole purpose of rounding up one of the Internet's all time favorite things: photos of inanimate objects that look like faces.
Well, if we're being technical, this galaxy actually takes its nickname from another cetacean. Once a spiral galaxy much like our own, NGC 2936 was twisted all out of shape by its behemoth neighbor. The result? One of the more adorable galaxies in the Water Snake constellation.
A new software program called GoogleFaces uses Google Maps and facial recognition software to isolate geographic structures that look like human faces. It's far from perfect, but the program has uncovered some remarkably face-like surface features.
Swedish artist Sandra "psychosandra" Holmbom pulls off some pretty remarkable optical illusions with makeup, but holy crap does this one take the cake — with an eldritch emphasis on "optical."
You're looking at a photograph of the frozen Charles River, taken this morning at 9:35 local time from the Mass Ave bridge connecting Cambridge to Boston. Call us crazy, but we couldn't help but notice the profile of a certain Master of Suspense taking shape in the cracks between the river's ice floes.
From an advertisement for Brown, Barnes & Bell (photographers in Liverpool, we presume) comes an optical illusion ca. 1890 that is half elephant man, half... well... something else. We don't want to spoil it. Check below the fold for the big reveal.
Because it's the weather system Texas deserves, etc.
The best optical illusions are often the ones we happen upon unintentionally, which is exactly what happened when redditor Liammm decided that water circling the drain of his sink would make for a nice photographic subject.
Photographer Todd Terwilliger calls this picture "Skull Flower," for reasons that should be obvious. Its resemblance to a human cranium is, of course, purely coincidental — yet the urge for our minds to register this plant as a piece of human anatomy is all but impossible to resist. But why?
Last year, a videographer from Neptune Canada spotted this odd creature floating deep under the northeastern Pacific Ocean off of Vancouver Island. Was Batman having a brave and bold adventure with The Atom in his new micro-Bat-bathyscape? Not exactly. This bobbing Bat-signal is a cilia-covered predatory cnidarian…
The Star Wars films have become such cultural touchstones that even the most arcane background minutiae are subjected to intense fan scrutiny.
In my eternal quest to find a massive optical illusion to rival the famous Face of Mars, we may have finally found a winner. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Elephant of Mars, as spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
For millennia, people have looked up at the full Moon and sworn that they could see something up there. Depending on the culture, it's anything from a face to a dragon. But why is anything there in the first place?
This beautiful image is an up-close look at one of the universe's best examples of pareidolia: the Seagull Nebula, also known as the Parrot Nebula or Eagle Nebula, depending on your ornithological preference. Point is, this is one gargantuan bird.
Did you know that some genus of extraterrestrial reptilian lives on the back of the POTUS' skull. It's true! Like the spawn of some fantastical Stargate/Harry Potter/Super Mario Brothers: The Movie slash fiction, Barack Obama's cranium has become the host to a reptile invader from Dimension Haircut. We wouldn't have…