Fact Check

Solar Eclipse Viewed from the International Space Station

Fauxtography: Photograph shows a view of a solar eclipse taken from the International Space Station.

Published Mar 20, 2015


Claim:   Photograph shows a view of a solar eclipse taken from the International Space Station.


Example:   [Collected via twitter, March 2015]


Origins:   As a solar eclipse awed stargazers on 19 March 2015, thousands of people took to social media to share their favorite photographs of the striking astronomical phenomenon. Although most of those pictures were authentic, one image purportedly showing a view of the eclipse taken from the International Space Station (ISS) was the creation of a digital artist and not a genuine photograph of the event.

Deviant Artist A4size-ska first uploaded the spectacular (and doctored) image displayed above to the Internet in 2009. It has since been viewed by hundreds of thousands of users and regularly makes a lap around the Internet whenever a solar eclipse takes place.

There are two ways to tell that this image is not real. First, it depicts a view that would not be possible from the ISS: although astronomers may quibble over the apparent size of the celestial bodies shown here in relation to the actual solar eclipse that occurred on 19 March 2015, the real giveaway is that the brightness of the eclipse would wash out the stars of our Milky Way galaxy that can be seen in the background of this photo.

Additionally, Deviant Artist A4size-ska stated outright that this image was a composite created using Terragen 2 software and images taken at the European Southern Observatory:

Last updated:   20 March 2015


    Plait, Phil.   "A Fake and a Real View of the Solar Eclipse... FROM SPACE!"

    Discover Magazine.   22 May 2012.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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