Scintillating new optical illusion is out of this world

Most optical illusions have been around for a while, though that often does nothing to dampen their appeal. But every now and again a new one comes along, and this latest example is scintillating – by both name and nature.

Developed by a visual artist with a background in neuroscience, the illusion – titled Scintillating Starburst (not to be confused with everyone's favourite chewy sweets) – features a simple geometric pattern on a plain background. But look closely, and the chances are you can see a series of dazzling white rays emanating from the centre. Like all the best optical illusions, it proves that your eyes can sometimes very much deceive you.

optical illusion

(Image credit: Michael Karlovich)

Now, you don't need us to tell you that said white rays aren't really there. But they're impossible to unsee – and the effect is only heightened when the design starts spinning (above).

optical illusion

How the design was constructed (Image credit: i-Perception)

Michael Karlovich created the image as the logo for his design company, Recursia Studios, and realised he had stumbled upon a brand new optical illusion. "When I first saw the illusion I created, I instantly had a hunch I was looking at an effect I had never seen before," Karlovich told our sister site, Live Science. "I was pleasantly surprised, but ultimately confused as to what the mechanism underlying the effect could be."

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After teaming up with psychologist and data scientist Pascal Wallisch, Karlovich discovered that the brain "connects the dots" between intersection points, or "bright points" in the design. And while illusions that cause the brain to fill the gaps are nothing new, Karlovich claims this is the first such example that isn't confined to a grid shape (like this mind-blowing 2005 album art).

From retro head-spinners to brand new colours, we've seen some truly mind-boggling illusions lately. If you fancy creating your own, take a look at the best Adobe Creative Cloud deals below.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.