Starts With A Bang

Sorry, Internet, Some Of Your Favorite Space Pictures Are Fakes (Synopsis)

Artist Inga Nielsen made this digital composition, called 'Hideaway', years ago. It has gone viral with the caption 'Sunset at the North Pole' ever since. It is not a real photo. Image credit: Gate-To-Nowhere of deviantArt.

“Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away.” –Ismail Haniyeh

Have you ever seen some beautiful, breathtaking, awe-inspiring pictures of the Universe, with what appears to be a too-good-to-be-true view? While there are some real, spectacular pictures out there, there are even more pictures claiming to be something other than what they are. Oftentimes, nature’s most beautiful sights are captured earnestly, and then ruined by someone sharing out a fake version, passing it off as genuine.

Look, it’s everyone’s favorite lunar Rover! The angles of the shadows on the Moon and the illuminated portion of the Earth in the sky clearly don’t line up. Also, the dog is photoshopped. Image credit: NASA / manipulator unknown.

There are lots of reasons to engage in such a scam, with the most blatant one being to inflate clicks, followers, and even direct advertising revenue. Yet if you’re someone who has any interest in telling what’s real apart from what’s fake, there are tools, tips, and resources out there to help you in your quest. Here’s your lesson on spotting space fraud 101.

If you’re going to show a beautiful picture of the Aurora Borealis reflected in a lake, you probably want to make sure that the ‘reflected lake’ image actually reflects the landscape, not a different landscape that you stole it from! Image credit: Amazlng Pictures on Twitter / the Telegraph.

Enjoy the spectacular images (and explanations) on this edition of Mostly Mute Monday!