Look at this picture of Saturn. Can you see the biggest ring? Are you sure?
Steeply-angled sunlight creates a muddled mystery of which terrain are mountains or valleys in this early-morning scene. Only snaking fog shrouding the river reveals the secrets of the inverted topography.
These stunning 3D sand designs from New Zealand are simple stunning. Scraping optical illusions into the lovely beaches of Mount Maunganui (and others), the creators from 3DSD certainly know how to trick the eyes.
When wave pass through each other, they interfere, producing neat effects. Artist Gary Drostle harnesses the interference patterns as light passes through rippling water to create fish pond mosaics.
A tree in Potsdam, Germany, looks like it has been cut in two, with the top hovering over the trunk, and it's thanks to a simple but clever artistic technique.
The man in the photo is Michael Paul Smith, but he is no giant. For 25 years he's been building remarkably lifelike dioramas of a fictional, mid-20th-Century American town called Elgin Park using meticulously crafted model cars, a card table and a $200 point-and-shoot camera. That's right – the cars in this photo are…
Chilean-born street artist Dasic specializes in large-scale outdoor pieces. Above, he's used the underside of a bridge to craft a vibrant, dreamlike scene – but you have to be in just the right spot to see it.
The long week is finally over, and you've worked hard. You deserve a magic trick of the highest caliber. Here you go.
2012 was a pretty epic year for visual trickery. We stared through telescopes, transfixed by Venus' cosmic trick of the light; gaped in disbelief at a Rubik's Cube that wasn't; and watched with morbid curiosity as celebrities transformed into grotesque mutations of their former selves.
The best optical illusions are often the ones we happen upon unintentionally, which is exactly what happened when redditor Liammm decided that water circling the drain of his sink would make for a nice photographic subject.
This optical illusion is a fairly simple one, but it's still a very impressive effect. A triangle and some cunningly positioned diagonal lines are all that's needed for your brain to tilt a perfect level rectangle completely off-kilter.
At first glance, this looks like a poster for Harry Potter, but is there something more going on? These posters illustrate famous stories with minimalist images, but hide a second story inside.
In my eternal quest to find a massive optical illusion to rival the famous Face of Mars, we may have finally found a winner. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Elephant of Mars, as spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
It's not unusual for optical illusions to create afterimages, ghostly reflections that show up after staring at something too long. This particular afterimage is a bit different. For one thing, it looks nothing like the original image. Also, it moves.
Apparently this take on the Rubin's vase illusion has been bouncing around for awhile, but it's a fun visual trick. And, as a commenter on CBR noted, "Wolverine or two Batmen" is plotline of The Prestige.
This beautiful image is an up-close look at one of the universe's best examples of pareidolia: the Seagull Nebula, also known as the Parrot Nebula or Eagle Nebula, depending on your ornithological preference. Point is, this is one gargantuan bird.
If you can't spot it in the image up top, try clicking through for the hi-res. You'll know it when you see it.
You've probably seen this optical illusion before, in which two lines of identical length appear to be different by adding opposite-facing arrows to them. It's a very powerful effect - so much so that it overwhelms all other visual information.
The sky above this Singapore hotel seems perfectly normal...but then something weird starts happening in the clouds. They suddenly change shapes, brighten and dim, and seem to pulsate for no apparent reason. This strange phenomenon has baffled scientists...until now.