Moon Star Island Illusion

This is our newest user-submitted optical illusion. Mary sent this photo with following description: “Hello, attached is a picture I have used for a wallpaper. I have no idea where it is from or where this island is located. None the less it is nature at its best”. Here at Mighty Optical Illusions, we are buffeled with this one as much as Mary. Is it for real or just a hoax/photoshopped image? Anyone has more info? If it’s for real, be sure to submit Google Earth co-ordinates. In the mean time check our Google Earth Category for more!

126 Replies to “Moon Star Island Illusion”

  1. That is a Photoshop job on an island known as Molokini, off the south coast of Maui. The Star does not exist, the crescent is for real.

  2. The waves breaking on lagoon side of the “star” island reveal the hoax. You can also see the cuts on the upper edges of the “star” island. The crescent island is the Molokini crater in Hawaii.

  3. The moon shape is Molokini crater, an extinct volcano off the south coast of Maui. It is one of the top ten dive sites in the world. The star was added to the photo. It is really a cool pix.

  4. Yeah, the crescent is Molokini. I snorkeled there when I went to Maui. I have a poster of the crescent but the star is all Photoshop.

  5. this was done using terragen (or maybe some other terrain-creating software. i bet its terragen though)

    for those interested terragen is fantasic and allows you to create amazing scenery

  6. I found the link for this picture.

    Check Here

    GarZ is the name of the woman who photoshopped the moon star picture. It looks fantastic along with other pictures that she has doctored in the photo section of her blog.

    Nice work GarZ!!!!

  7. AS to the two posts I posted before, I have done the research, and although it says the island is part of Palua, the island’s website gives no recognition to this island. Also the pictures of molokini do transfer over onto the picture with very little discrepency. I pull back my previous statement about it being a real island, although I do know I have seen it my geography book which is strange. The rest of the pictures on GarZ’s site i believe are real.
    Bis Spaeter

  8. I know that island. I think it’s in Hawaii. The crescent part of it is real, but the star shape it DEFINITELY photo shopped.

  9. Don’t you realize that everybody is saying the same? Yeah it’s photoshoped. It’s obvious. Nobody is going to win the Nobel Prize…

  10. I went to the crescent island when i went to Hawaii and I went snorkeling! However, the star wasnt there. Maybe this is somewhere else besides Hawaii? Its a really good Photoshop job if its fake.

  11. It is absolutly a work of photoshop. Look at the indside of the star, there is obvious clone stamping around the ‘shores’ of the star island. When compared to the crashing waves on the moon shaped island (the real one) they are outragiously huge. Photoshoped, and poorly done too.

  12. It probuly is photoshopped, but I have heard that if you are really rich, you can pay to have people construct an island for you, using large machines to move large amounts of earth. But like I said first, it is probuly photoshop

  13. Ok, ive seen this pic before but it was in turkey where i seen it… Their flag is this but backwards…its a moon cresent with a star in the middle…

  14. This picture is not fake! This is an island off the coast of Maui. There are amny man-made islands in the world now. Japan even has a pyramid-city now.

  15. ridiculous. im pretty sure the “moon” island is molokini in hawaii. ive been snorkeling there and there is no “star” island. obviously photoshopped.

  16. i think its real i saw a show on tv once where some rich bratty prince in africa somewhere MADE several islands that resembles a palm tree with a circle around it,i know he ordered others to be built…could this be one??

  17. thats bull its photoshopes that is molokini crater in hawaii there is no star there cause i whent snorkling there.

  18. It may be fake, but since no one has yet to identify the symbolism, let me ;P
    This is a symbol in antiquity, most know it as Van Gogh’s “Cypress Star” the “star” is actually venus.

  19. the moon part is from molokini off the coast of maui i think. I was there over the summer… It’s pretty cool, especially when you’re flying over it in a plane. the star was just photoshopped. It’s pretty though :)


  21. It could be real, I know off the coast of Aba Dubia (south of Saudi Arabia, in the country of United Arab Emerates) there are islands that looks like a map from space, and more than look like palm trees, all man made and sold as prime beach side property.

  22. Dude that is photoshopped some may think that is Molikini but it isnt Molikini is smaller…trust me i went diving there

  23. I know for a fact that this is a hoax, in fact right behind me not 5 feet away is a poster on the wall of the same crescent. The star has been photoshopped.

  24. Actually this IS a real Island, however it is man made. The Cresent and Star are part of an EarthWork, one of the art pieces made most commonly during the late 70’s early 80’s. (I forget the artist’s name but we studied him just last week, and this is one of his works) There is also another one made by him in Salt Lake, called the Spiral Jetty.

    The reason you ONLY see the cresent, is because the star was put in during the season the tide is lowlest, during high tide season the water rises and covers the star leaving only the cresent to be viewed.

  25. Just so you guys all know, off the coast of Dubai, there are several man-made islands that are in shapes that obviously would rarely, if ever, occur naturally… Ever consider that someone bought themselves a star?

  26. (link to spiral jetty)

    Robert Smithson is the Artist that made the Spiral Jetty, earlier mentioned… but his website doesn’t mention such a feat as the Star & Crescent Moon Islands… Nor do any articles attributed to him.

    His site has ‘Earthworks’ which is what he has done regarding landscape changes and art… such at the Jetty… but no island is listed…

    This link shows satilite photos of land formations …Natural and Manmade and his Spiral Jetty is listed but nothing is listed about the Star & Crescent Island… (for those of you that have mac and can’t go to Google Earth… this site is helpful for this discussion)

    Opinion: Although impressive… the Spiral Jetty and other Earthworks he has done, all fail in comparison to the Star & Crescent Moon Islands. If he did it…wouldn’t he list it as one of much pride?


  27. Where did the “Moon and Star on Earth” photograph originate? The above image was uploaded to the photography site by Ajith Kumar on 1 November 2005. He describes himself as a communication operator working for “Indian Express”, a daily newspaper. Sometime during or before 2005, Wilson Hayes included the image on a webpage entitled “What A Beautiful World.” The same image, with the same title, “The Moon and Star on Earth”, is also found in a collection of beautiful photographs by “Oracle Whimsical” entitled “You only pass this way once,” dated September 23, 2005. A third site, “” included it also. I found it at “Gar’Z”, circa 2006, where it was entitled “One of Earth’s Dynamics of Unity – Moon/ Star Lake .” In January 2006, the image was uploaded to a site of predominantly Muslim themed images from Turkey:

  28. Google “Molokini Island” before you say that this star is real, or that the island is in Dubai. A few clicks to enlightenment. It’s so easy to find out what it really looks like.

    1. if the star isnt in google images, then the tide must be up coz when the tide goes up only the cresent is left above water. :)

  29. The star is photoshop.

    The cresent and Star represent Islam, you can see it on the flag of turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, the older flag of Egypt, ect…

  30. Yes Its Molokini, been there. Did you know on the cliff side there are some rockets embedded into it? Must have been target practice from the near bye army base. nice shot:)

  31. It’s molokini in hawaii and a photoshopped star. There is no reason for the rough white water on the east side of the star. Where would those waves be coming from with a shallow lagoon in the crescent? With waves in the pacific moving from east to west the white water on molokini makes sense but not on the fictishish star. Erosion wouldn’t come from the side of the sheltered bay. The crescent is an old volcano caldera which blew it’s left half off. Molokini is not inhabited, a famous dive site and was once used by the US military as a bombing target.

  32. don’t think it’s real, look at the waves hitting the star from the inner part of the crescent. waves could’t be strong enough to do that in the crescent

  33. Thats molokini island by maui! ive been snorkling there before. the water looks dif because its the top of a volcano! but the star is not real.

  34. ” Imagination is more important than knowledge, for while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination is all we might yet discover and create..” Albert Einstein
    ..this beauty is not real,ok!but can be created!

  35. This is definitely someone with a sense of humor. This exact island setup is part of a massive multi-player online role playing game called Perfect World..I’ve flown over it several times on my

  36. Okay, I live on Maui… so, um, i KNOW that is one photoshopped pic!!! You really can’t fool anyone there. That Moon shaped island is called Molokini, and that star… um ya, its photoshopped! Get your facts right!!!

  37. I have had this as a screensaver for 4 years. It is a special symbol for my husband and I. We have a saying that we had always used.
    “Love you to the Moon and Stars”

  38. OKAY PEOPLE THIS IS IN MAUI HAWAII! ITS PHOTOSHOPED IVE BEEN THEIR SNORKLING AND THIER IS NO STAR! If you dont believe me check on google earth! Here are the corordinates
    Latitude 20°37’57.48″N
    longitude 156°29’46.79″W

  39. The uppermost tip of the star is copy/pasted directly from the small section just below it. But that might not mean the whole “star” is Photoshopped…

  40. The “Star” has waves on the right sides of all of the points, the same as the Crescent. Unfortunately it takes a fair bit of open water to create waves, and this shows the lie in the picture.

    You will also notice that waves have reflections from the shoreline (check the ocean to the right of the main wave activity in the middle of the right side of the Crescent); none is evident around the “Star” – another indicator.

    It is however a very well done, and beautiful, picture.

  41. Sorry guys, but this indeed is photoshopped.
    If you look at the right edge of the star, you can see exactly similar edges on the right of the moon- they just copied and pasted the moon’s edge to the star.

    It may be *partially* real, but the star was a bit off and they had to doctor it, but if the thing is real, it would be more impressive not photoshopped.

    To be specific, on the right side of the top part of the star, the shape of the rock and waves is exactly the same as the edge of the moon directly to the right of it.

    That means photoshop.

  42. The crescent is Molokini, which is off the coast of Maui in Hawaii. I dont think the star is real. Molokini is a bird reserve on the surface and a fish reserve under water property of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

  43. this is so obviously photo shopped i cant believe it was even posted in the first place.
    1) there are wave breakers on the star. ONE THE SIDE FACING THE MOON.
    2) Theres no underwater drop off under the star like there is under the moon.
    3) look at the top point of the star. just look at it.

  44. The crescent moon and star is not an Islamic Symbol. It wasn’t until the Ottoman Empire that the crescent moon and star became affiliated with the Muslim world. When the Turks conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, they adopted the city’s existing flag and symbol. Legend holds that the founder of the Ottoman Empire, Othman, had a dream in which the crescent moon stretched from one end of the earth to the other. Taking this as a good omen, he chose to keep the crescent and make it the symbol of his dynasty. There is speculation that the five points on the star represent the five daily prayers, but this is pure conjecture. The five points were not standard on the Ottoman flags, and it is also not standard on flags used in the Muslim world today.

    For hundreds of years, the Ottoman Empire ruled over the Muslim world. After centuries of battle with Christian Europe, it is understandable how the symbols of this empire became linked in people’s minds with the faith of Islam as a whole.

    Based on this history, many Muslims reject using the crescent moon as a symbol of Islam. The faith of Islam has historically adopted no symbol, and many refuse to accept what is essentially an ancient pagan icon.”

    Read more:

  45. If you enlarge the pic you will clearly see that the star is made up of composite pieces of the moon. It’s actually quite a fun exercise to match bits of the moon island to the star. The two boats are also a dead give-away. To give you a head start: Take a look at the top most part of the star – you’ll see two black dots. Look directly across from them to the moon and you’ll see the exact same dot. If you look at the waves crashing below the black dot on the moon you’ll notice the similarity to those crashing below the two dots on the star. You’ll find a lot more on your own. Have fun ;-p

  46. This is definitely Molokini crater off of Maui. I have been there. The star is photoshopped in though. The waves washing up on the sides of the “Star” island are all wrong. But the “Moon” island is definitely real, and is a great place to snorkel!

  47. Star is obviously shopped… waves are breaking on the the side that would be enclosed and protected by the “Moon” island (Molokini).

  48. I went On google earth and it’s hard to see at first but there is no star, I don’t really know why there would be in the first place. Isnt that an Islamic/Muslim symbol? I’m only 12 , I studying thing so please don’t judge if I’m wrong.

  49. The island is Molokini crater off the southwest coast of Maui. I get to see it everyday from Kihei where I live. However it does not have a star shaped island in front of it… not sure if this is photo shop or a REALLY old picture before some force of nature changed the sea scape

  50. I think its man made or a perfect exampe of photoshopped images! Coz creation of star by the waves is a li`l out of general knowledge of the art mysteries of sea waves!

  51. I’ll give u a hint FAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. Moon shaped island does exist! It’s called molokini and it’s a great diving spot. The star shaped “island” is photoshopped hence it does NOT exist ;)

  53. It’s true I’ve been there before to snorkel it’s off the coast of maui but that star island isn’t there! The star is fake but the crescent island is real!

  54. The star is real as you can see but its a old picture usa destroyed the start as it shows that the star and crescent are sysmbol of a religion.

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