A viral photo has internet users scratching their heads as an apparent image of Earth taken from space isn’t what it seems.
At first glance, the photo appears to show the Earth’s curvature complete with ocean, clouds, atmospheric layers, and twinkling stars far off in the cosmos.
However, it is an excellent example of an optical illusion messing with the human brain because it is not what it appears.
What is it then?
The photo, cleverly rotated to throw people off the scent, is actually a picture of a city skyline with faint sunlight gently illuminating the sky.
“Nope, did not see the city,” writes average Jeff on Twitter. “I had to read this tweet to see it. Crazy!” adds Gabrial Masliah.
Some even suggested that the optical illusion photo looked like Universal Pictures’ opening credits.
A popular Italian science communicator by the name of Massimo shared the photo on April 4 and it has received a staggering five million views.
However, the photo is seemingly a few years older than 2023 and PetaPixel’s research tracked the original photo down to an account from the Philippines. It appears the photo was taken from a tall building above Katipunan Avenue in Manila by a man named Jamo Fevidal.
Earth from space or Katip skyline? pic.twitter.com/gEEhwSOVvd
— Jamo (@jamouflage) February 18, 2016
Earlier this week, PetaPixel shared a remarkable optical illusion photo of a bird standing at the edge of a body of water that has a wall’s reflection creating a brain-breaking photo.
Optical illusions happen when we try and make a quick assumption about the world around us. Our brains will come to a fast first conclusion before we realize what it is we are actually looking at.
Our brains and our eyes evolved to be hyper-sensitive, this allowed our ancestors to interpret predators and spot threats before it was too late.
According to The University of Queensland, scientists still do not understand exactly how optical illusions work, despite plenty of research.