Can you help NASA settle a debate? The American space agency recently shared a picture of a spinning neutron star on Instagram, and asked their followers whether they saw a hand or a face.
In the image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, one can see PSR B1509-58 – a spinning neutron star surrounded by a cloud of energetic particles. When this image was released in 2009, it created much hype because people saw a hand-like shape in the X-ray emission.
“Pareidolia vibes were strong,” wrote NASA while talking about the hype in their Instagram post. Pareidolia is the tendency to find familiar objects or patterns in random objects, seeing shapes in clouds being one example.
Describing the image further, NASA’s post continues: “X-rays from Chandra in gold are seen along with infrared data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope in red, green and blue.”
NASA said that pareidolia struck again as some reported seeing a shape of a face in WISE’s infrared data.
The Instagram post has garnered over 6 lakh ‘likes’ and more than 5,000 comments. While people who saw a face filled the comments section with smileys, the ones who saw a hand used the waving hand or thumbs up emojis.
“Definitely saw a face straight away,” wrote one person.
On the post, the European Space Agency commented with a smiley face and a hand emoji.