'Devil horns' eclipse over Middle East causing social media stir

Posted at 7:37 AM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 08:37:12-05

Devil horns? A bikini top?

A photo of a solar eclipse rising over the Persian Gulf is causing quite the stir on social media.

Given the latest turmoil in the Middle East, many are taking the image as a pair of devil horns rising over the region, with some even making biblical references.

Others see a little less sinister image: A hot-pink bikini top is one popular alternative.

The original photo was taken on Dec. 26 by an astronomy buff on vacation in Qatar during a partial eclipse.

Astronomer Elias Chasiotis took this photo of a solar eclipse over Qatar on Dec. 26, 2019. Some say the image resembles devil's horns or a bikini top.

The image shows the sun rising over the ocean mostly blocked out by the moon, so that it almost resembles two curved triangles - or, well, horns or a bikini top.

A mirage effect from the water further distorts the image at the bottom.

Astronomer Elias Chasiotis took the image, but it didn't go viral until NASA posted it a few days later as the Astronomy Picture of the Day - and then it really picked up traction after this week's Iranian missile attacks on U.S. air bases in Iraq.

"Dawn of Evil" wrote one person about the image.

"That's creepy" another person tweeted.

Fox News personality Sean Hannity tweeted "Devil's Horns Rise Over Iran" (In response, someone on Twitter photoshopped the horns onto Hannity's head.)

Physics professor Robert Nemiroff said satanism, of course was the furthest thing from his mind when he helped NASA choose that particular Astronomy Picture of the Day.

"We were not in league with the devil when we ran this, I just want to make that clear" Nemiroff told CNN, laughing.