Back to Africa Check

No, highly processed ‘art’ image – not Nasa’s most clear photo of the sun

“Take a breath Cuz you're looking at the most clear picture of the Sun's surface,” reads a message posted on Facebook in South Africa. It includes an image of what appears to be a sun or planet, which it credits to Nasa – the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The photo has been posted elsewhere on Facebook with a similar claim: “The most clear picture of the sun surface published by NASA.”

But what does the photo really show? 

Sun_False

Image by US photographer

Using a TinEye reverse image search we found the original image posted on the Twitter and Instagram accounts of Jason Guenzel, a US photographer.

In the tweet, Guenzel says that “this heavily software-processed image of the solar chromosphere reveals the complex nature of the magnetic field within our star”.

He explains that the image walks “the thin line between science and art ... perhaps blurring it a bit”. 

 

 

In the photographer’s Instagram post, he explains how the image was created. “This passes from science into art, but I wouldn’t entirely dismiss that we are seeing the indications of some real phenomena here.”

AFP reached out to Nasa about the image. The space agency’s heliophysics communications lead, Karen C Fox, told AFP in an email that the photo was “not a NASA image”.

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

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters