Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.
When an image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory of PSR B1509-58 -- a spinning neutron star surrounded by a cloud of energetic particles --was released in 2009, it quickly gained attention because many saw a hand-like structure in the X-ray emission.
In a new image of the system, 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. Pareidolia may strike again as some people report seeing a shape of a face in WISE's infrared data. What do you see?
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, also took a picture of the neutron star nebula in 2014, using higher-energy X-rays than Chandra.
PSR B1509-58 is about 17,000 light-years from Earth.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the WISE mission for NASA. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra's science and flight operations.
Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech...
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Live Space Station Views
Live Space Station Video includes internal views from cameras in the International Space Station's Destiny Laboratory and Harmony module when the resident astronauts are on duty. Earth views from external cameras on the stationâ€™s structure will be available during crew off-duty periods.
The video will be accompanied by live audio of conversations between the crew and the Mission Control network.
Television from the station is available only when the complex is in contact with the ground through its high-speed communications antenna and NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. During "loss of signal" periods, Internet viewers may see a test pattern or a graphical world map that depicts the stationâ€™s location in orbit above the Earth using real-time telemetry sent to Mission Control from the station.
Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it sees a sunrise or a sunset every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but also may provide spectacular views of city lights below.