A team researching water-repellent leaf behaviour at Duke University in North Carolina took the high-speed images, showing water drops bouncing on the surface of a leaf.
James Dacey, a reporter for Physics World, wrote the story up for the magazine’s website – and noticed the Octopus’s-Garden-composing, Thomas-The-Tank-Engine-narrating 1960s icon staring back at him.
Under the picture, captioned “The Starkey Effect: Ringo keeps psychedelia alive”, Mr Dacey says: “Bizarrely, everybody’s favourite mop-topped Liverpudlian seems to reveal himself in the high-speed photo images of water-droplets being ejected from the leaf surface.”
Starr’s features and mop-top haircut can indeed be seen in the images, even though they distort as the droplet bounces.
Mr Dacey told the Telegraph that this is the first time he has seen the image of a Beatle in a physics experiment.
There is some argument over whether the image is actually of George Harrison, rather than Ringo. Harrison is quoted as saying “Life is like a raindrop on a lotus leaf”, when talking about his battle with throat cancer.
Definitely one of the more interesting cases of pareidolia. The point to take home here is that priming causes people to see things. This is used to great effect in criminal trials by lawyers who understand how the mind works. I see a white helicopter image trapped in the water droplets. Water, just add meaning.