An image tweeted on 18 July claims that the photograph of Antarctica in context was shot from space.
This claim was tweeted from the account Physics & Astronomy Zone (@ZONEPHYSICS) and had 321.6K followers at the time of writing this fact check. Given the subject of the claim it’s been popular on social media platforms since 2012. You can see a few examples below:
Fact Check/ Verification
We began our research by doing a Google reverse image search of the photograph in the claim. One of the top results on the page titled “The South Pole as seen from outer space” was linked to the website reddit.com.
On clicking it, the top comment posted around two years ago clarified that the image in context is computer generated and not an actual photograph. You can read the comment in the screenshot below:
One of the links in the comment led us to the source of this image on Flickr. As written in the description, the image was released on the occasion of International Polar Year showing a global view of the Arctic and Antarctic in 2007 and credited as follows:
Credit: *Please give credit for this visualization to* NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).
The image was part of other visualisations created by Cindy Starr and show the sea ice on September 21, 2005. Below is a screenshot from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Scientific Visualization Studio detailing how the image was created.
Slate.com debunked a similar claim in 2016. You can read it here.
The photograph of Antarctica in context is not captured from space. It is a computer-generated image created by NASA in 2005.
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