I liked this recent article at EarthSky – Best Images of Surprise Halloween Comet – and in particular the skull picture of asteroid 2015 TB145! Seeing this prompted me to search the Internet and find the term pareidolia. I had never come across it before – and wondered if you had?
Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists. Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations (such as the Barking Dog Cloud, above), the man in the moon, and very recently the skull in the Halloween image of asteroid 2015 TB1 45 released by the NSF’s Arecibo Observatory!
I captured the Barking Dog Cloud image using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60 compact camera in sunset auto mode and x 30 zoom magnification.
Dr. Peter Lowenstein has contributed many beautiful and fascinating images and stories to EarthSky. Trained as a geochemist, he spent his early years with the Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea, specializing in metals and volcanoes. In 1989, he moved to the Zimbabwe Geological Survey as Chief Economic Geologist and has lived and worked in Zimbabwe ever since. Peter is now retired to Zimbabwe, in a house with a beautiful view in Murambi East, Mutare, where he pursues favorite hobbies including construction of electronic gadgets, listening to music, gardening, surfing the Internet ... and photography.