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Chicago appears to hang upside-down from clouds in photo shared by NASA

NASA has recently shared a photo that looks like something straight outta Doctor Who. But it’s not. What you see is completely real.

Taking to their Astronomy Picture of the Day site – which is run in conjunction with Michigan Technological University – they posted an image of Chicago, seemingly hanging upside down from the clouds.

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Photo – Mark Hersch/NASA

NASA astronomers have shared a pictured which shows a gorgeous sunset and an upside-down city perfectly sitting beneath the clouds.

It’s always exciting when NASA shares photos, ‘coz lets face it: your photographer mate can’t exactly fulfil your space photo needs. A personal favourite is their recent high-resolution panorama of Mars.

This particular photo was taken by photographer Mark Hersch back in 2014, but it was reshared yesterday. From an aeroplane on the way to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the skilled photographer captured a shot of Chicago, under the clouds, completely unedited.

NASA scientists Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnel are thankfully able to explain this peculiar discovery, which they found “fascinating”, “puzzling”, and “beautiful.” They wrote: “The city, Chicago, was actually perfectly right-side up. The long shadows it projected onto nearby Lake Michigan near sunset, however, when seen in reflection, make the buildings appear inverted.”

If you don’t believe them, try looking closer at the image. You should be able to see the sun both above and below the cloud deck. If you’ve got a really good eye you can even find another airplane in the image, “likely also on approach to the same airport.” I couldn’t find it, but I wish you the best of luck.

Up next: NASA researchers may have found evidence of a parallel universe where time operates in reverse.