Fact Check: Viral photo of Antarctica claimed to be taken from space is FALSE
In the image, we can see thick ice covering the entire Antarctica continent. The claim “Antarctica from space” along with the image is shared on all social media accounts.
Antarctica is the earth’s southernmost and least populated continent on the earth. It is virtually uninhabitable as it is covered with ice. Recently, a photo is in circulation with the claim that it is a photograph taken by NASA from space. In the image, we can see thick ice covering the entire Antarctica continent.
The claim “Antarctica from space” along with the image is shared on all social media accounts.
The claim that this image is taken from space is FALSE. It is a visualization of data, a computer-generated image showing the extent of sea ice around Antarctica on September 21, 2005.
When we conducted a Google reverse image search, we found a Pinterest page sharing the same image, with the title ‘Antarctica Visualisation Wallpaper’.
We also found NASA's scientific visualization studio page with the title ‘Global view of the Arctic and Antarctic on September 21, 2005. The image shared is a composite of several images sent by various earth-observing satellites. The visualizations are created by Cindy Starr and released on February 15, 2007.
According to the NASA article, in support of International Polar Year, this matching pair of images showing a global view of the Arctic and Antarctic were generated in poster-size resolution. Both images show the sea ice on September 21, 2005, the date at which the sea ice was at its minimum extent in the northern hemisphere. The colour of the sea ice is derived from the AMSR-E 89 GHz brightness temperature while the extent of the sea ice was determined by the AMSR-E sea ice concentration.
A matching star background is provided for each view. All images include transparency, allowing them to be composited on a background.
This image was viral previously too, and several websites debunked the claim over the years.
Hence, the image is not a single photo taken from space, it is a computer-generated image using visualization of several data. The claim is FALSE.