Earth tells us to 'GO' in weird cloud message seen from space (photo)

The GOES East weather satellite operated by NOAA spotted a cloud pattern that appeared to form the word "GO" off the coast of Chile in South America on May 6, 2022. The phenomenon is an example of pareidolia, where the human brain sees familiar sights in random shapes (Image credit: NOAA)

The Earth is apparently trying to tell us something. 

A surprising new photo from the GOES East satellite has revealed what appears to be the word "Go" written in the clouds as seen from space. The Earth view was spotted on Friday (May 6) by GOES East, which is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

"While we're happy it's Friday, NOAA satellites never rest,keeping a constant and vigilant watch over Earth's weather," NOAA officials wrote on Twitter (opens in new tab) while sharing the photo. "We were surprised to see this interesting pattering in the marine stratocumulus clouds off the coast of Chile today, that appears to form the letter 'G.'"

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NOAA turned Earth's cloud "G" into a TGIF message for Friday on May 6, 2022. (Image credit: NOAA)

Because it was Friday, NOAA superimposed the letters "T," "I" and "F" on the image so it read "TGIF" (short for "Thank God It's Friday). Fun, right?

But wait, there's more. 

"If you zoom in on this imagery, which was captured via the GOES East [satellite], the clouds seem to form the word 'GO,'" NOAA wrote in a second Twitter post (opens in new tab).

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A fresh look at the image does show what appears to show a giant "Go" off the coast of Chile. Is it a message to take a vacation in South America? Or for us all to go away and leave Earth alone for a bit?

Actually, it's none of those. Seeing recognizable shapes in clouds or other unrelated objects is known as pareidolia, where the human brain sees familiar patterns in random shapes. The so-called "Face on Mars," this wild pareidolia rat on the Red Planet and these scary screaming skull views and more from space are just a few examples of the psychological phenomenon. 

While the "GO" message in Earth' clouds is just a random shape caused by atmospheric conditions at the time, it is fun to think Mother Earth might be trying to communicate with us every now and then.

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Tariq Malik
Editor-in-Chief

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award (opens in new tab) for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast (opens in new tab) with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network (opens in new tab). To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab).