“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?
Image by 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”.
This heavily software-processed image of the solar chromosphere reveals the complex nature of the magnetic field within our star.— Jason Guenzel (@TheVastReaches) January 13, 2021
Walking the thin line between science and art ... perhaps blurring it a bit. 😉 #Astrophotography #space #solar #star #power pic.twitter.com/DaG3xjEiZd
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”.
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