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

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)
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The Earth is apparently trying to tell us something. 

A surprising new photo from the GOES East satellite (opens in new tab) 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.'"

Related: Seeing things on Mars: A history of Martian illusions

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 (opens in new tab) and scary screaming skull views (opens in new tab) 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.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook and Instagram.

Tariq Malik
Space.com Editor-in-chief

Tariq is the editor-in-chief of Live Science's sister site Space.com. He joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, focusing on human spaceflight, exploration and space science. 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. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University.