Thursday, May 13, 2021
Thursday, May 13, 2021
HomeFact checkViralOld Computer Generated Photograph Of Antarctica Shared As Image Taken From Space

Old Computer Generated Photograph Of Antarctica Shared As Image Taken From Space

An image tweeted on 18 July claims that the photograph of Antarctica in context was shot from space

https://twitter.com/ZONEPHYSlCS/status/1284450903701872640?s=20

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:

https://twitter.com/backt0nature/status/916984519764463616?s=20

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

Screenshot of Google reverse image search results of the photograph of Antarctica in the claim.
Screenshot of Google reverse image search results of the photograph of Antarctica in the claim.

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:

The image shows a comment on the post "South Pole as seen from outer space" on Reddit.com
The image shows a comment on the post “South Pole as seen from outer space” on Reddit.com

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. 

Global View of the Arctic and Antarctica on September 21, 2005
Global View of the Arctic and Antarctica on September 21, 2005

Slate.com debunked a similar claim in 2016. You can read it here

Conclusion

The photograph of Antarctica in context is not captured from space. It is a computer-generated image created by NASA in 2005. 

Result: Misleading 

Our Sources

The South Pole as seen from outer space.

Global View of the Arctic and Antarctic on September 21, 2005

https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003400/a003402/index.html

https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/search/?person=73


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Nikita Vashisth
Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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