Why Do We See Familiar Looking Objects On The Red Planet?

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. » 2/28/15 10:10am 2/28/15 10:10am

Uncanny Photos From Space That Look Like Faces, Animals, And More

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. » 2/24/15 3:00pm 2/24/15 3:00pm

What Do You See In This Nebula?

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. » 10/23/14 11:08am 10/23/14 11:08am

Artist Draws Whimsical Illustrations Over The Shapes He Sees In Clouds

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. » 9/05/14 1:00pm 9/05/14 1:00pm

Our new favorite Twitter account finds faces in the strangest places

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. » 11/29/13 2:20pm 11/29/13 2:20pm

And now, a galaxy that looks just like a dolphin

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. » 6/30/13 5:00pm 6/30/13 5:00pm

An algorithm that finds face-like structures on the Earth's surface

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. » 5/28/13 6:20am 5/28/13 6:20am

This optical illusion will smash every last one of your heebie-jeebie…

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." » 2/26/13 2:40pm 2/26/13 2:40pm

Alfred Hitchcock is haunting the River Charles

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. » 2/13/13 11:45am 2/13/13 11:45am

Can you guess the subject of this photograph?

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. » 2/06/13 6:50am 2/06/13 6:50am

The eyeball in this guy's sink is one of the best optical illusions…

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. » 11/13/12 8:10am 11/13/12 8:10am

What makes us see Jesus in a taco, or a human face on Mars?

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? » 10/25/12 11:15am 10/25/12 11:15am

Here is your daily dose of baby stingrays being adorable

In case you were psychically scarred by the now famous stingray photobomb, here's some pareidolia to soothe your mind. And now, a baby stingray from the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport Oregon set to music. Enjoy. [Via Arbroath] » 10/24/12 1:25pm 10/24/12 1:25pm

See a jellyfish-like creature imitate Batman at the bottom of the sea

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… » 5/30/12 7:30am 5/30/12 7:30am

The curious case of the vulgar C-3PO trading card

The Star Wars films have become such cultural touchstones that even the most arcane background minutiae are subjected to intense fan scrutiny. » 5/15/12 8:45am 5/15/12 8:45am

And Now, an Elephant on Mars

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. » 4/09/12 5:00pm 4/09/12 5:00pm

The insane physics that lets us see the Man in the Moon

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? » 3/12/12 5:00pm 3/12/12 5:00pm

The Seagull Nebula spreads its wings across 100 light-years

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. » 3/08/12 6:13pm 3/08/12 6:13pm

An Egyptian reptile alien lives on the back of Barack Obama's skull

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… » 2/20/12 10:25am 2/20/12 10:25am