The ‘Eye of God’ Photographed by Hubble Space Telescope

A photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope showing a nebula dubbed the 'Eye of God' is an artificially colored composite, not a single unretouched image.

  • Published 5 February 2004

Claim

A photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope shows a nebula dubbed the 'Eye of God.'

AWESOME! Dear All: This photo is a very rare one, taken by NASA. This kind of event occurs once in 3000 years. This photo has done miracles in many lives. Make a wish ... you have looked at the eye of God. Surely you will see the changes in your life within a day. Whether you believe it or not, don't keep this mail with you. Pass this at least to 7 persons. This is a picture NASA took with the Hubbell telescope. Called "The Eye of God." Too awesome to delete. It is worth sharing.

Collected via e-mail, 2006

Rating

What's True

The image is based on photographs of the Helix Nebula captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

What's False

The image is a composite of multiple photographs (including some taken by a land-based telescope) and has been artificially tinted.

Origin

The above-displayed image is a real photograph of the Helix Nebula, although it’s technically not a single photograph but rather a composite image formed from several photographs taken by NASA’s orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and a land-based telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. This image was NASA’s “Astronomy Picture of the Day” for 10 May 2003.

The Helix Nebula does not naturally appear with the colors shown above; however, the tinting of the image is artificial. The picture’s “Eye of God” appellation is a title coined by an admirer of the photograph due to the nebula’s resemblance to a human eye, not something designated by NASA, and the nebula is also visible all the time, not merely “once in 3000 years.”

Snopes.com
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Editorial
  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
Operations
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes