For years, an alleged photograph of a giant cloud of dust and gas in the far reaches of space called the "Serenity Nebula" has been circulating across the internet. Some posts claim the image was captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, which is known for its ability to observe distant stars and galaxies.
Serenity Nebula by Hubble. pic.twitter.com/5NatEYKW8D
— The Science World (@scienceworld224) August 22, 2023
The above image is not a real photograph of a so-called "Serenity Nebula." No such nebula has been documented, and the image is in fact a digital rendering of a nebula.
NASA describes nebulae as "clouds of gas and dust that can be the birthplace of stars, the scene of their demise ― and sometimes both." We searched for evidence of this image on NASA's "Hubble's Nebulae Gallery" photographs series and could not find it, though many of the real nebulae look similar to the image in question. We also searched the NASA website for more information about the so-called "Serenity Nebula" and found no research, coverage, or even mention of it.
Some posts credited "Casperium" on the website DeviantArt, which features an online community of artists who upload their works, as the image's creator. It had indeed originally been uploaded onto DeviantArt back in 2012 by the artist "Casperium," who wrote in the caption, "THIS IS NOT STOCK. It gets me that people can not respect my copyrights. NO REPOSTING OF MY ART UNLESS YOU ASK PERMISSION FIRST. Found it on tumblr and who knows where it is out there now. grrrrrrrrrrrr."
Social media posts featuring the image appeared to have rotated it before uploading.
Many comments under the post on DeviantArt alerted the artist to where the image was being uploaded. The artist said individuals who uploaded the image would be contacted and asked to take it down. "Casperium" also responded to one comment with: "Lots of them on there are credited wrong. Unfortunately people think it is a NASA image. Thanks for letting me know."
Given that the image appeared to be an original artwork on DeviantArt, and that we found no evidence of such a nebula on NASA's online resources, we rate this so-called photograph as Fake.