Hyderabad: A photo allegedly published by NASA that shows the Northern Lights from Space is being shared by social media users.



Archive links:

https://web.archive.org/web/20210717063951/https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10159070273361049

Fact Check:

The claim that the viral image shows the Northern Lights from Space is FALSE.

NewsMeter performed a Google reverse image search and found that the image has been on the Internet for several years and the claim has been debunked many times.

We found a post from a blog 'sattrackcam.blogspot.com' published in 2014 with the title "What is wrong with this "picture of Aurora from Space"? Answer: everything!" According to the blog, the image shows about 1/3rd of the Earth globe but shows no clouds and no limb brightening. That immediately makes it clear that it is a digital rendering where a cloud-free map of the Earth has been digitally wrapped around the globe.

It further adds, "The auroral ring is wrongly positioned on the globe. In the image, it is centered on the true Pole (the earth's rotational axis), in the Arctic sea. In reality, Aurora is however a phenomenon connected to the Earth's magnetic field, and it, therefore, is centered on the Geomagnetic pole. The Geomagnetic pole is distinctly offset from the true pole: it is located in Northern Canada, on Ellesmere Island."

The blog also explains that it is impossible to see such a large part of the Earth globe at once from the International Space Station. Further, it also shared a tweet that said the image is part of a 3D video published by NASA.

We found a 3D animation video that shows a "view of the Earth's geomagnetic field and following the electrons down to the aurora formation" published by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Conceptual Image Lab in 2005. The viral image can be seen at the 1.03-minute mark. The credits of the video state it is a "3D Unstructured-mesh Magnetosphere Simulation, Model generated by Dan Spicer, NASA".

https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=20056

While the viral image is not the original image of the Northern Lights, NASA has an 'Aurora image gallery' on its website where you can find stunning images.

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/aurora-image-gallery/index.html

The Northern Lights, also called the aurora borealis, are a natural phenomenon caused when electrically charged particles from the Sun collide with the Earth and are drawn to the magnetic poles where they become heated and then glow.

https://www.rmg.co.uk/stories/topics/what-causes-northern-lights-aurora-borealis-explained

Also, the claim and the photo have been debunked by Full Fact.

https://fullfact.org/online/this-isnt-a-real-image-of-the-northern-lights-from-space/

Hence, the claim that the viral image shows the Northern Lights as seen from Space is FALSE.

Claim Review :   Photo of Northern Lights from Space
Claimed By :  Social Media Users
Fact Check :  False

Satya Priya BN

Motivated professional with a zeal to learn, Sathya Priya has more than 5 years of experience as a Content and Digital manager in Press, Electronic and Digital media. She is Andhra Pradesh government accredited Multimedia Journalist. Ms Priya has worked for more than 4 years as Web and Digital media manager in Bhaarat Today, telugu TV channel. Along with news, she has experience in television program production. Demonstrated excellent management and leadership skills to lead the Digital Media staff. Worked collaboratively with staff, management and IT support. A science Post Graduate, with great computing skills, She is a fact checker certified by Google News Initiative. She has also completed Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Certification from Google.

Next Story