Space. The last frontier, is without a doubt a dark and bizarre place. But as alien as this mysterious vastness of space can be, it is also eerily familiar. From nebulas that look like horses’ heads to galaxies that resemble dragons (seriously, dragons), check out these 25 amazing things found in space that resemble things found on Earth.
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Horse Head Nebula
First recorded in 1888 by Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming, the Horsehead Nebula is approximately 1500 light years from Earth and as you can see, looks like a horse’s head.
Mickey Mouse Crater On Mercury
Measuring 105 kilometers across (65 miles), this striking resemblance to Mickey Mouse can be found on Mercury’s southern hemisphere and is attributed to an accumulation of craters over a long period of time.
Found in the Trifid Nebula, this mystical creature can be seen within the open clusters of stars, emissions, and reflections of the familiar nebula, though it’s technically classified as a stellar jet.
The “Eye Of God” Nebula
What some call the “Eye of God” is actually a Helix Nebula located 650 light years from Earth which has been described by astronomers as a “Trillion-mile-long tunnel of glowing gases” with a dying star in the center.
North America Nebula
NGC 700 is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus that has a striking resemblance to North America. It even has a very distinct and prominent Gulf of Mexico! It’s distance from Earth is not known for sure, however some scientists theorize it to be about 1800 light years away.
Also known as Messier Object 104, the Sombrero galaxy is an unbarred spiral galaxy located 28 million light years from Earth. The dark dust lane and the large central bulge give this galaxy the appearance of a sombrero.
At a distance of 384,400 Km (238,900 miles) from Earth, the moon is the brightest object in the sky besides the sun. A careful look at the near side of the moon reveals what appears to be a face, complete with eyes, nose and a mouth. These features are formed by what is called maria which are vast solidified pools of ancient basaltic lava.
Talking about faces, on the fourth planet from the sun (and the second smallest planet in the solar system), there exists what is known as the “face on Mars”. As striking as this face image is, it’s believed to be nothing more than an optical illusion created from natural looking Martian hills.
The asteroid was discovered in 1998 by the LINEAR project and was given the temporary designation 1998 SF36. However, in August 2003, it was officially named after Hideo Itokawa, a Japanese rocket scientist.
This dramatic example of a dragon-like shape is made up of multiple images of a spiral galaxy that lies some 10 billion light years from Earth.
Officially called NGC 6302, This striking galactic butterfly was created via Gas and dust ejected by an ageing star which the Hubble’s newly installed Wide Field Camera 3 was able to record.
The Cone Nebula
Discovered by William Herschel in 1785, the Cone Nebula is located 2,700 light years from Earth and lies in the southern part of NGC 2264. The name comes from its geometrical cone shape. However, I think this looks more like a lamprey. What do you think?
A planetary nebula located in the constellation Sagittarius, the Red Spider Nebula is estimated to be anywhere between 1900 to 8000 light years away (depending on who’s estimating) and is distinguished by its prominent two-lobed shape.
Mitosis crater in Mars
Yet another formation found on Mars. But this time we have a pair of craters believed to have been caused by one object that split into two upon entering the Marsian atmosphere. Not only does this crater look like a cell going through mitosis, but if you look inside, you can even see what might resemble centromere and spindle fibre.
Hartley 2 Comet (dogbone)
Probably my dog’s favorite celestial object, the Hartley 2 comet literally looks like a dog bone (a massive dog bone at that). Designated as 103p/Hartley by Minor Planet Center, Hartley was discovered by Malcolm Hartley in 1986 and has a diameter of about 1.2 to 1.6 kilometers (0.75 to 0.99 mi).
The Witch Head Nebula
Officially named IC 2118, the Witch Head Nebula is believed to be an ancient supernova remnant or gas cloud illuminated by nearby supergiant star Rigel in Orion. It lies about 900 light years from Earth.
Person on Mars
Oh look at that! A Marsian! Not really. This alarming image of what appears to be a humanoid of sorts is believed to be another case of optical illusions created by a rock formation’s shadow. Though, to be fair, some are convinced this is in fact proof of alien life. What do you think?
Traffic Light on Mars
As if the last image was not enough to really screw with your head, here is yet another bizarre anomaly found on the red planet. NASA has yet to comment on this finding but most think it looks sort of like a traffic light.
Alien on the moon
I don’t know about you but this looks exactly like either a really tall humanoid statue or, even more alarming, a really tall humanoid creature walking. It even has its own shadow! Now all this could probably be explained away by tricks of light and camera glitches…but then again, what if….
SN 1987A (AKA Hour Glass Supernova)
The aftermath of a recently exploded star known as Supernova 1987A has created this type of hour glass combination of expelled materials in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula. It occurred approximately 168,000 light years from Earth, close enough to be visible with the naked eye.
Hand of God
What some refer to as “The Hand Of God” is actually the remains of a star that exploded about 17,000 light years from Earth. However, scientists are not certain whether the nebula looks like a hand because of the way particles interact with magnetic fields or the particles are actually shaped like a hand. Either way, I have to admit, this is a bit spooky.
Also known as the Star Queen Nebula, the Eagle Nebula is a young open cluster of stars that resembles an eagle. It was discovered around 1745-1746 by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux and contains many star-forming gas and dust regions, including the famous “Pillars of Creation”.
Officially named NGC 2467, what has been called the “Mandrill Nebula” and “skull and Crossbones nebula” is an active star-forming region found in the constellation Puppis. As the Deviantart member iscorpious has noted and illustrated with this image, the Mandrill Nebula really does look like a Mandrill.
Face of God Galaxy
NGC 1316 is a giant elliptical galaxy that was formed billions of years ago as a result of two spiral galaxies merging. A careful observation of this galaxy reveals the startling image of what appears to be the face of the romanticized Judeo-Christian God.
Officially named V838 Monocerotis, This red variable star found in the constellation Monoceros about 20,000 light years from the sun was observed in 2002 after experiencing a major outburst. Though the reason for the outburst is uncertain, what is certain is that this variable start has a striking resemblance to a well-known internet browser. Are the heavens telling us something?