Ghost Airplane Illusion


After Cuban ghost ship, we have Malaysia ghost plane. It passed over a month from Seong Chai Low’s submission. Finally his Google Earth illusion is up! I’m moving along slowly, posting all your unreviewed submission (there are over 100 pending in my mailbox). I like to say that “patience is a virtue”, so be sure that all of them will be posted some day, no need to worry we’ll run out of optical illusions yet. Low included description how to find this flick in Google Earth/Google Maps.

Low: “I enjoy your site, always visit your site once in a while to see what new pictures you have published. Here’s one snapshot from Google Maps. I’m not sure how the ghost image of the airplane appear. Anyway, this is taken on the Penang, Malaysia (the country where I’m staying). I don’t know how to get the latitudes and longitudes from the Google map. So I capture another 2 zoomed-out map and highlighted the location with a red box (inside). Hope you like it.”

For similar Google Earth illusions, visit the appropriate category located in our sidebar, under “optical illusion categories”. There you’ll find classic ones like Flying Car and Haunted Road… Also be sure to check strange Crop Circles.

  • Rodd

    The plane is traveling so fast, that when the satellite took the image, the plane was partway ahead.

    • Ana

      You are right on the money when you say “someone’s” illusion, but definitely not in the ghostly sense. The heat/color matches are too perfect, yet proving that point even more, the colors would be completely different if it were “ghostly”. Grow up or go back to mommy and daddy’s house (if you have them, not to speak ill of anyone if not) as you know nothing about the other realms. Color, auras, feelings would all be felt by just seeing it, this is an obviously failed photo shop job. Try learning a little about your camera, such as F stops for a start, then graduate onto Appts, etc, then you’ll know when you’ve really captured a spirit or what have you.

  • redz

    yeah ..that right… i dont see any strange about it….in fact i livin penang….never saw that ghost plane…usahkan misteri dibelenggu oleh anda…misteri nusantara

  • Michael Tughan

    For those who want to see it, tune Google Earth to 5 degrees, 26 minutes north, 100 degrees, 18.4 minutes east. The plane is there. Rather is an interesting sight.

    • Rubit_In

      I can’t believe someone (Michael) went and found the exact degree location of this pointless photo. You could have flossed your teeth in the time you wasted

  • Anonymous

    I think what we are seeing here is a rainbow. The sun is reflecting off the plane back into the water vapor in the atmosphere. The sun seems to be in the correct position to cause this effect. There is a color shift in the ghost that is similar to a rainbow.

  • Frank Taylor

    You will see “ghost” like images in many of the satellite photos involving moving objects (most often planes, but you can also see them on cars on highways). Read an explanation here.

    Also, here is a write-up from my blog on planes in flight found in Google Earth.

  • Anonymous

    where is it? Im in a place that looks similar to the pic above, but i dont see it

  • Anonymous

    i cant see it

  • Anonymous

    Google Earth is so grotty

  • Anonymous
  • Remi

    actually its like looking at a candle or anything reflecting light, through glasses its just a matter of focus till you can see the ghost image.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not a plane… it’s a plane sign on a corn field :)

  • Anonymous

    No Rodd, you could be wrong because, the airplane goes forward and the ”ghostplane” is before him, so…..

  • Wenjie

    I live over there in penang,tanjung bungah too .. maybe next to it a few blocks away.. kena cool .. but no ghost i bet :)

  • Anonymous

    someones cut it in the field, i think :-)

  • jordan

    does anyone else notice the hidden face in picture two? in the water to the leaft of the island you can clearly see a mouth,nose,and closed eyes. to the top right is the hair…

  • mama


  • ricardo

    oh yeah! it is an easter egg

  • brian

    It is an artifact of the imagery

  • nonya

    i cnt see it in the other two but of course the first

  • bart


  • me2

    I found this while browsing near Denver. Quite pretty.

    39°37’51.27″N 105° 8’48.61″W

  • blabla

    wtf there`s a freaking face in the water!! spooky:-s

  • paul

    Its very strange but i see two aircraft. One behind the other.

  • cole

    what is the third picture

  • project s

    It could be the satellite imaging has captured the plane partially in another dimension, or a different “time”, as which it may be better understood. transdimentional photography?

  • Thomas

    This is not the picture I clicked on……..

  • Mrs. Pelkey

    Take the wings off of the ghost plane, and you’ve got an opti-penis HAHA

  • jim

    I’m just guessing, but probably many planes fly over that area, and someone used a lawn mower to give the pilots and passengers something to look at. It hardly provokes me to refer it to anything ghostly.

  • CJ

    The sun is “behind” the plane, casting the shadow in front of it. Same effect as your shadow being longer just after dawn or before dusk than it is at noon.

  • To get a lat long on a location in Google Earth is easy. Zoom close to the spot, add a point, and there in the properties box is the lat and long attributes which can be copied.

  • jsh

    Ghost images have been in photography, X-rays and other image producing media for deccades. Nothing new or unusual here.

  • Anne Stenslien

    Hey anyone.
    Does anyone know how often they update the Google Earth Satellite photos?

  • David

    its the shadow

  • Dayne

    Not a shadow, rainbow, sun angle, crop circle/art, or time traveling plane. As Frank explained in his link. The image is made up two images, a high resolution black and white, and a lower resolution color image. The B&W (pan) and color (Multispectral) imagers on the satellite take their pictures slightly apart. You can tell the pan camera takes it’s image first and the lower resolution second, because the very sharp picture of the plane is earlier, and then the lower resolution (fuzzy) color image is taken and the plane flew forward.

  • Looks more like the reflection of the bottom of the plane than an actual air-craft

  • MGID false advertising

    How is this blood-chilling?

  • G

    Go to Phoenix, AZ – Freeway 51 and North 32nd Street, you’ll see 5 planes going over the mountain

  • Carl


  • Patrick

    Anyone else notice that the ghost plane looks vaguely similar to a cock and balls with wings…

  • gjhd

    looks more like a cock and balls.

  • Merlin5x5

    Satellites take color pictures by scanning in each of 3 or 4 colors (CYMK, or RGB), in serial fashion. One after the other. The final picture is a composite of 3 or 4 color sets layered over each other. The plane traveled into a different location between each scan.

  • Hold your hand at a distance in front of your face with one eye closed and you do not see what is behind it. The satellite is shooting not straight down but from the side at an angle, not straight down. That is why all the buildings are seen from the side and why you do not see the ground behind the roofs of the buildings. The “ghost” is simply the area blocked out by the real location of the airplane shot from a side angle and illustrates the same offset from the location on the ground as the side angle offset of all the buildings in the same image. What remains curious is that I can not locate the dark shadow of the airplane off to the left of the airplane, as it should be off at the same angle as the shadows of all the buildings.

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