What is pareidolia? It is the psychological phenomenon where we see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data.

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 about 17,000 light-years from Earth – was released in 2009, it quickly gained attention because many saw a hand-like structure in the X-ray emission.

In this 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.

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech


2009年,美国宇航局钱德拉x射线天文台发布了一幅PSR B1509-58的图像,这是一颗被高能粒子云包围的旋转中子星,距离地球约1.7万光年。这幅图像很快引起了人们的注意,因为许多人在X射线辐射中看到了类似手的结构。



影像来源:X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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