Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cookie Monster in Space (err, on Mercury)!

Craters on the surface of Mercury that resemble the face of the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster.

NASA has just released a photo of a crater on the surface of Mercury taken by the Messenger spacecraft. The image is of a large impact crater with two smaller impact craters that occurred later. The "googly eye" effect is a product of luck in that the image was taken when the shadows were positioned to produce what look like eyeballs. This is, of course, a great example of pareidolia; the psychological phenomenon in which vague or meaningless data are interpreted as meaningful. In this case, the image of a bunch of craters produce the impression of Cookie Monster in the eye of the viewer.

h/t to the AV Club

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