Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Space station astronaut spots ‘ghostly’ image staring at them from Earth

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In a remote area of the Sahara desert sits a 3,000-foot deep volcanic pit that looks like a ghoulish skull when viewed by space, NASA photos show

The NASA Earth Observatory said last week an astronaut aboard the International Space Station spotted the odd formation in the Tibesti Mountains in the Republic of Chad. The photos were originally taken in February of this year, and later re-shared by NASA. 

“The 1,000-meter (3,300-foot) deep volcanic pit and soda lake Trou au Natron in northern Chad has the look of a ghostly face staring back at you,” the NASA Earth Observatory said in a blog post last week. 

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The photos show what appears to be a massive skull formation, with two eye sockets and a nose surrounded by a white material that builds out the appearance of a skull. NASA said the eye sockets and nose are actually “cinder cones—steep conical hills built around volcanic vents,” while the white material is “a mineral crust made of a salt known as natron.”

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The Tibesti Mountains are considered one of the most remote and isolated areas of the world, which has made researching Trou au Natron difficult for scientists

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NASA did say that research indicates the area was filled with a glacial lake roughly 14,000 years ago, and samples of fossilized aquatic algae collected in 2015 dates back an estimated 120,000 years. 

Last month NASA released images showing another “eerie face” that was captured when the Juno space probe passed Jupiter.

“The image shows turbulent clouds and storms along Jupiter’s terminator, the dividing line between the day and night sides of the planet,” a description of the image reads. “The low angle of sunlight highlights the complex topography of features in this region, which scientists have studied to better understand the processes playing out in Jupiter’s atmosphere.”

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NASA said that people spotting faces in space images is a case of pareidolia, defined as “the effect that causes observers to perceive faces or other patterns in largely random patterns.”

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Fox News Digital’s Michael Lee contributed to this report. 

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