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No, computer-generated image of sunset from space not snapped by International Space Agency

An image in a screenshot circulating on Facebook in South Africa and Nigeria shows a small bright globe hanging above a planet that appears to be Earth.

“This is what the sunset on earth looks like from space,” its caption reads.

The image is credited to Nasa and the ISS. Nasa is the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The ISS, the International Space Station, is a space lab that orbits just 400 kilometres up from the planet’s surface.

Astronauts crewing the station have snapped beautiful photos of Earth. Is this image one of them? We’ve previously examined a few false claims about space, so we checked.

Sunset_False

Frame from CGI video

A reverse image search brought us to a video titled “Sunrise From Space. Earth From Space”, created in 2018 by an unidentified Germany-based computer-generated imagery (CGI) artist. The image is a frame from the video.

The video was posted on Pond5, a US stock media website. It’s part of a gallery of computer-generated videos showing the artist’s impression of sunrises over Earth.

In November 2021, Nasa spokesperson Brittany Brown told USA Today that the image had no relation to the agency or the ISS. “We are not able to definitively trace the image to an official NASA source,” she said.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Further Reading

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