FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Solar Eclipse From The International Space Station?
A post shared on Facebook claims to show a photo of a solar eclipse taken from the International Space Station.
The image is a piece of digital artwork, not a photo taken from the International Space Station.
The International Space Station, which orbits about 250 miles above the earth, was assembled in parts between 1998 and 2011, according to NASA. 2020 marked the International Space Station’s 20th year of astronaut crews living on it, the Associated Press reported.
The Facebook post claims to show a photo of a solar eclipse taken from the International Space Station. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the sun and the earth and blocks the sun’s light, casting a shadow on earth, according to NASA. (RELATED: Is This Image The ‘First Ever’ Photo Of A Sunset On Mars?)
While the picture does contain some actual imagery of space, it is not a photo of a solar eclipse taken from the International Space Station. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact discovered it is actually a piece of digital artwork created by Deviant Art user A4size-ska using software called Terragen 2. The image of the Milky Way in the background of the piece comes from the European Space Observatory.
The inaccurate claim that the image shows a solar eclipse “viewed from the International Space Station” has circulated online since at least 2012. In an article for Discover Magazine that year, astronomer Phil Plait debunked the claim, noting that “the bright Earth (and Sun!) would wash out the background stars in a picture like this, so you’d not see them, and certainly not the Milky Way.” Gizmodo also reported that the image was a “3D rendering made in Terragen 2” by the Deviant Art user.
This isn’t the first time social media users have mistaken a piece of digital artwork as a genuine photo taken of space. In February, Check Your Fact debunked an image some Facebook users claimed to show “Earth, Venus and Jupiter as seen from Mars” that, in actuality, was computer-generated.