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Seeing Faces In Things? You Should Know This Fantasy-Like Space Oddity

Pictures: The Atlantic, Sky News, ABC, Neuroscience News, PNG Mart

Have you ever looked at the moon or sky and seen the familiar faces of the ones you loved? Or it could be animal silhouettes or abstract shapes made by the clouds. Perhaps when you were little, you thought it was a part of your imagination. However, some imaginations actually made sense! It’s not just in your head.

The visual or mind phenomenon you see on the clouds and sky is similar to the images captured in space.

Don’t you think those odd-shaped rocks, dust and natural patterns make it look like a face?


Picture: NASA Science Mars Exploration

Why can you see faces on things?

One of the reasons is familiarity. The human brain makes up familiar shapes that are relatable. Thus, when you look at clouds, rocks, trees or other things, your mind plays a trick on you. That’s why, for example, your parents’ faces are visible on the moon when you miss them!


Picture: Psyche.Co

Does this phenomenon have a name?

It sure does! Pareidolia is pronounced PARE-I-DOH-LEE-UH. The term is defined as human tendencies to see recognisable shapes in objects or data that aren’t unfamiliar.

Some examples on earth are President John F. Kennedy’s (The 35th US president) profile on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.


Picture: Flickr, JFK Library

Another instance can be Pulau Tasik Dayang Bunting in Langkawi. If you look closely, it’s as if a pregnant woman (or mermaid) is lying on the ground. How cool!



Interestingly, this phenomenon doesn’t occur only in space. It’s all around us. Nature provides many undiscovered secrets that are waiting to be found. If you have time, take in the beauty of nature, and you might notice some awesome pareidolia!

Pareidolia in space, according to NASA

NASA received a lot of feedback from people thinking they saw familiar photos from Mars, other planets and anywhere in the cosmos.

Yes, it’s true. If you see it, you aren’t crazy. It’s pareidolia.

Look at this image of a nebula.


Picture: NASA Science Mars Exploration

Some say it’s like a hand X-ray. What say you?

Sources: Twitter NASA, NASA Science Mars Exploration

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