From a photo of a mysterious object spotted orbiting Earth to a picture of a star system that looks like the eye of Sauron we take a look at 10 mysterious photos taken in space.
10. Black Knight Satellite
In 1998 a series of photographs taken by NASA revealed something unusual in Earth’s orbit. Thought by many to be a satellite of extraterrestrial origin some believe this mysterious object may have been orbiting Earth for more than 13 000 years. Some think that radio waves heard by Nikola Tesla in an 1899 experiment may have been emitted by this ‘alien’ satellite. Others believe that the mysterious object is nothing more than a thermal blanket reported lost during a spacewalk conducted by U.S. Astronauts Jerry Ross and James Newman.
9. The Heart Of The Universe
This image of the Crab Nebula was assembled from 24 individual exposures taken from the Hubble Space Telescope in 1999 and 2000. The Crab Nebula is the remnant of a giant star that ended in a supernova explosion nearly 1000 years ago. The supernova was so bright that it was seen and recorded by Chinese astronomers in the year 1054, making it the first astronomical object identified with a historical supernova explosion. The Crab Nebula cannot be seen with the naked eye but can be made out using binoculars in good conditions.
The nebula gets its name from the 3rd Earl of Rosse, William Parsons who, in 1840 observed the object through a telescope and produced a drawing that many thought looked like a crab.
8. Crab Creature Spotted On Mars
An image taken on Mars by NASA in 2015 had many believing it was proof of life on the red planet. A closeup of the side of a rock wall revealed a shape that some think resembles a crab-like creature. Despite the initial internet buzz, a senior astronomer at the Center for SETI Research said the ‘space crab’ was something else entirely. He believed it could be explained by a phenomenon known as pareidolia. Pareidolia is the brain’s ability to see shapes in random objects like a face in the moon or a dog in the clouds.
The object does however, look out of place in the harsh, rocky landscape. What do you think? Alien creature or just our brains playing tricks on us?
7. ‘Eye Of Sauron’ Star System
Fomalhaut is one of the most visible stars in the night’s sky and the brightest star in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus. The star and its surrounding system bare an eerie resemblance to the Eye of Sauron from the Lord Of The Rings films.
Within this system is an extrasolar object, thought to be a planet known as Fomalhaut b or Dagon. This planet has a very unusual, highly elliptical orbit. It has an orbit of nearly 2000 years coming as close as 4.6 billion miles to its star and at its outermost point it, 27 billion miles away from its star. Scientists believe that this strange orbit may be a result of a yet undiscovered planet that gravitationally ejected Fomalhaut b from a more circular orbit at some point in time. The unusual orbit takes Fomalhaut b through the system’s outer dust ring where it spends around 1000 years in deep freeze before returning into the system.
Scientists also believe that the reason this planet is unusually bright is that as it returns through the system’s outer dust ring, any satellites orbiting the planet would suffer great impact from surrounding objects, creating a dust cloud that reflects starlight, similar to the ring of Saturn.
6. Faces On Mars
When the Viking 1 spacecraft took a series of images of the surface of Mars, one in particular caught the eye of astronomers. The photo, which was released by NASA in 1976 is of an area known as Cydonia and it seems to show a large humanoid face carved into the mesa. While experts dismissed the image as an illusion of light and poor photo quality, many have argued that this image proves there was life on Mars at some point in time.
Many successive spacecraft have photographed the area with gradually improving resolution leading NASA to state that “a detailed analysis of multiple images of this feature reveals a natural looking Martian hill whose illusory face-like appearance depends on the viewing angle and angle of illumination.”
What do you think? A face or just our peepers playing tricks on us?
5. Star’s Mysterious Explosion
This image taken from the Hubble Space Telescope in 2002 shows an outburst from the star v838 Monocerotis. Originally it was thought to be a typical nova eruption, a process that occurs when hydrogen is pulled from one star’s surface onto another star, resulting in a nuclear explosion. It turned out that what scientists were witnessing was something completely different all together. Several theories have since been put forward including the possibility of a merging with another star or planets. Whatever the process, v838 Monocerotis briefly became one of the largest known stars and one of the most luminous in the Milky Way galaxy.
Check out this amazing timelapse of v838 Monocerotis on the Hubble Space Telescope’s YouTube channel:
4. Pyramid On Mars
A photo taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover on May 7th, 2015 had some believing that we had discovered pyramids on Mars. Despite some initial confusion about the scale of the photo, the pyramid shaped object is believed by experts to be only about the height of a soda can. Just a small volcanic rock that has eroded over time into a sharp angle.
3. Pyramid On The Moon
In 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 took a series of photos on the moon. This picture was originally catalogued by NASA as sunstruck but with the contrast adjusted it appears to show a pyramid-like structure in the background. Apollo 17 was the sixth and most recent manned moon landing and the final mission of the Apollo Lunar Landing Program. Could this photo be evidence that there are pyramids on the moon similar to those of Egypt?
2. Figure Filmed On Mars
This photo was captured in 2004 by Spirit, NASA’s Mars explorer vehicle. Taken in close proximity to the vehicle’s landing location, it seems to show some sort of humanoid figure making its way across the rocky terrain. When the picture was first released, the internet ran rife with speculation. Everything from an ancient bronze statue to some sort of extra-terrestrial Bigfoot was considered. Sceptics dismissed the claims pointing out that the object could only be a few inches high as it is within metres of the vehicle. What do you think? Unusual rock or mysterious creature traversing the landscape?
1. Interstellar Insect
This amazing image is a composite of several images created by the Hubble Heritage Team. It is of a nebula 8000 light years from Earth known as Menzel 3. Menzel 3 located in the Norma constellation, bares a striking resemblance to a gigantic interstellar ant. Sometimes referred to as the Ant Nebula, its structure is somewhat of a mystery with some researchers believing that the fiery protrusions may be caused by strong magnetic fields emitted by the dying star. Another theory is that its centre may consist of two stars orbiting around a common point with the possibility that the dying star may have expanded so much it has consumed its companion which may still be orbiting inside it.
That was 10 mysterious photos taken in space. Can you think of any other photos taken in space we could add to this list?