Debunking hoaxes and exposing scams since 2003!

Jump To: Example    Detailed Analysis   Comments   References

Eye Of God Image - Hubble Telescope Email

Jump To: Example    Detailed Analysis   Comments   References


Circulating message that includes an image described as the 'Eye of God' claims the image captures a rare event that only occurs once every 3000 years.

real Image False Description

Brief Analysis

The image is genuine, but the description includes false information.



Bookmark and Share

related Links

Related Links

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. Learn how to stay safe online with Hoax-Slayer's comprehensive eBook:


Subject: FW: Hubble picture, the eye of GOD

This photo is a very rare one, taken by NASA. This kind of event occurs once in 3000 years.

This is a picture NASA took with the hubble telescope.

Called "The Eye of God".

Too awesome to delete. It is worth sharing.

Eye of God Image

God loves you and watches over you every day.

Detailed Analysis

The image included in this email forward does indeed represent a real celestial object. However, the description that arrives with the image is inaccurate.

The picture is a composite image of the Helix Nebula and was NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for May 10th 2003. The Helix Nebula is a planetary nebula that formed at the end of life of a star and is estimated by scientists to be as close as 450 light years from our Sun. Images taken from the Hubble telescope were combined with others taken from an Earth based observatory to form this quite compelling picture. According to information on NASA's HubbleSite:

The composite picture is a seamless blend of ultra-sharp NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images combined with the wide view of the Mosaic Camera on the National Science Foundation's 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, near Tucson, Ariz.
While the image does indeed resemble a giant eye, there is no record of NASA actually referring to it as "The Eye of God". It is not clear who first called the image "The Eye of God", but the name appears to have "stuck" for obvious reasons. A number of non-NASA websites refer to the image by this name. In fact, other planetary nebulas have also been called "The Eye of God", including the Hourglass Nebula, MyCn18.

The Helix Nebula is actually a vast tunnel of glowing gases a trillion kilometres long. Since Earth's position in relation to the nebula means we are looking more or less directly into the mouth of this tunnel, Helix appears to us as an eye-like bubble rather than a cylinder.

The claim that the "event" only occurs once in three thousand years is pure nonsense. The Helix Nebula is readily viewable by scientists all the time and can even be seen by amateur astronomers using telescopes or binoculars. Naturally, due to the composite nature of the image and the high-powered telescopes and photographic equipment used to create it, the nebula is unlikely to look as compelling or as "eye-like" from the ground as it does in the emailed image.

In spite of the inaccurate description, the picture is certainly a delight to behold. One wonders why somebody felt the need to make up a nonsensical explanation to go with the picture. Such amazing natural phenomena virtually speak for themselves.

Helix Nebula

Last updated: April 7, 2015
First published: December 13, 2005
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

Astronomy Picture of the Day: 2003 May 10
NGC 7293:The Helix Nebula
Iridescent Glory of Nearby Planetary Nebula Showcased on Astronomy Day
Hourglass Nebula, MyCn18
The Helix Nebula

Latest Hoax-Slayer Articles

More stories!

'Internet Capacity Warning' Phishing Scam
According to this email, which claims to be from the 'Support Department' at 'Information Technology Services', your internet capacity is 70% full and you therefore need to contact support to avoid problems.
Published: July 6, 2015

Kroger 'Free Coupons' Survey Scam
Message being distributed across Facebook claims that users can receive free coupons from American retailer Kroger just by sharing a message and visiting a third party website to claim their prize.
Published: June 16, 2015

Pointless Facebook Warning - Hackers Posting Insulting Messages or Sexual Content In Your Name
'Hacker' alert messages circulating on Facebook claim that, without your knowledge, hackers are posting insulting or sexual messages that appear to come from you onto your Facebook Timeline.
Published: June 3, 2015